2001 · Sim-patia center

  • With: C. Carozzi
  • Collaborators: S. Broggini, M. S. Cadario, F. Lamon, S. Poletti, M. Schiavi.
  • Consultants: Ing. G. Ambrosetti (structures); Varesecontrolli srl (ing. C. Ascoli and ing. D. Bellocchio ) (systems)

The “Sim-Patia” motor disabled center in Valmorea (CO)’s expansion project and its later actualization are a re-elaboration of the winning project of 2001’s idea contest.The simple volume of the new collective service body sits over the lot along an East-West axis, on the outskirts of a black locust wood to the South and bordering with the Sim-Paria center to the North.The reinforced concrete basement containing the technical spaces is halfway buried in the natural downward slope of the terrain. The upper-storey building’s “bone structure” is visible in its cylindric pillars, sustaining the flat coverings. This structure hints to a clear space composition supporting transparent glass diaphragms, alternating with blind orange-colored parts.Along with the existing building’s groundfloor, the expansion features a new reception, refectory, kitchen, gym, locker rooms and a therapeutic swimming pool – all distributed in a long glass gallery, protected on the outside by a reiforced concrete column-sustained shelter (almost a reinterpretation of the classic stoa).Common environments are all marked by continuous glass walls and are conceived as open and bright spaces. Transparency and openness to the forest’s and the garden’s intense green is also particularly enjoyable from the inside of the therapeutic swimming pool, limited by three completely glass-made walls.The building’s walls – both the colored ones and the transparent are meant as “wings” – interpose and reveal the location’s background at the same time, shifting its color as the seasons change. The building may then be compared to a set, part mobile and part static, also because of a long manoeuvrable wall around the refectory and some yellow roller shades allowing a partial or complete filtering of the glass. Color is thus reclaimed as an ancient “companion” to architecture.In particular, orange and ochre – in different shades from yellow to red – were among the most utilized pigments in classic ancient times, because of the wide availability of gound and clay, and were used as a background to wall paintings.The two main colors in the project (orange and yellow) also aim to balance the cold tones of the glass facades and the neutral shades of the visible reinforced concrete structure. The use of such colors also comes from a – maybe vain – hope that perception of “warm and lively colors” (as Goethe defined them in his famed “Color Theory”) might be a seducing and stimulating experience to the eyes of the center’s guests, who live a different reality every day, and distract them from their suffering, even if only for a moment.

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