To turn a sign of the past into space.

It is a fusion of history and project in an exercise of architectural composition of one and more living units, in an organic system of functions, necessary for the collective living, to redefine the ways and connect its spaces and eras.

The proposed project fits in with the existing draft, almost as continuing it, starting from the study of the author and of the building: integration of “Quartiere Vanvitelli”, Caserta, by Mario Fiorentino, based on the concept of interdependence, interpenetration between parts and eras.

The willingness to approach this theme is given by the desire to investigate and discover the ways of living in a particular cultural climate such as the post-war, by researching innovative and personal solutions, which are grafted into history.

The proposed project is a housing cell able to use at most all the spaces, combining internal and external areas, and relating domestic and public places.

Continuum is the desire to turn a broken idea into a project, that of M.F., who designs and places within the “Quartiere Vanvitelli “ a building that would have to perform functions and services for the residents.

From latin, Continuum means continuous : continuation of a concept, interdependence of several parts, interpenetration of different places and eras. It is the attempt to create unitary parts of cities where individual architectures get value from the whole of which they belong to.

The concept of living already provides a reiterated action over time, repeated constantly.

Habitàre, means “to continue to have” but it is commonly known as “ to have a habit of a place”, a unique building block, shaped horizontally, where different functions coexist and fit together.

Keeping the role of a “bridge” between the history and the project, between spaces and eras, leads to take account of this new era and the demands it requires.

It is no longer sufficient to build large blocks of housing, we must give to the future residents any range of services, functions, spaces that allow the living in its absolute form and in its temporal continuation.

The first floor, entirely dedicated to the market function, a public commercial area, open to non-residents,  acts also as a urban space with a careful division of flows.

In the same block, instead, some housing units have been sacrificed to reserve space for large internal “squares”, becoming important vertical links between the floors, that to be really considered as squares ( free but demarcated areas), they are completely exposed on the sides, to the light, to the wind and to the rain.

The double-pitched roof, on the other hand, allows the insertion into the attic of a further floor, with several rooms, consecutive and contiguous, once again of common interest. Library, conference room, meeting room and a workshop.

That is the collective living.


What role did the drawing play in the development of the project ?

The CONTINUUM project/analysis was born from the desire to reiterate the story, to resume it from its interruption; in a very precise place and in a very precise time: Caserta in 60s, planning and design of “Quartiere Vanvitelli “- INA CASA. It is for this reason that the design or rather the re-design of the existing one, helped me to better understand the logic, the composition and the M. Fiorentino’s project; to redesign implies to dwell on the object carefully. The design has been a tool of knowledge and obviously of expression too.

What defined the language of representation through which you articulate your proposal?

The language of the representation has been dictated by my passion for the filiform drawing, old style, to wish me a coming back to its origins,  giving up the pseudo-realistic modern representations and focusing more on real meaning of architecture as a composition of  shape and light.

I have always been attracted by hand drawings, perspectives, axonometric in black and white, and that is why my language is strongly influenced by Masters of the past, the same M. Fiorentino, Alison & Peter Smithson and George Sowden.

How important is the plan within the drawing of a project?

The drawing, in particular of a plan, defines and specifies the space.

The idea gets a shape.

“The plan is generating, without it there is the disorder, the arbitrary act”_Le Corbusier.

It is the plan to dictate the sensation which that space can arouse, the light it can have or the darkness it can derive from.

What role do the views hold? How important are the silhouettes in effecting the reading of the architecture space and function?

The representation doesn’t have a secondary role compared to the project, the realized views are essential, they represent the design synthesis;the likelihood is attributed only  to people, who are able to remind a context, evoke an action and a moment.

The space must be read with absolute clarity, because in contains emotions,its reading directs and educates this emotion.

The presence of the people, transfers the image in a contextualized temporal plane, but allowing the free interpretation of those who observe it.

What prompted the use of the model?

The model is a fundamental tool for the study of the composition and the comprehension of a project, than of the study itself. It is necessary to verify and to catalyze the relation with the context, and to observe the design volumes, that are characteristics not easily deductible from the on screen visuals or two-dimensional drawings, which, however useful and fundamental,they mark a certain alienation compared to the reality.

This three-dimensional way of representation of the architecture is a non-modern exercise, but it is an important issue to the modern problem of the project control.

In talking about a continuum where do you as an architect position yourself within this?

I believe that there is a deep connection with the history of the place and the feelings, potential that it offers, the challenge of the architect today is to translate the limits, the lack of a context, and to turn them in potential.

Once again is CONTINUUM the key word, to continue to study the architecture, the history of the places, of the materials, and to investigate the relation between sociology and architecture in relation to the territory, especially the Italian one.