Corso Italia 34

MILAN, ITALY - 2013

The ownership of a 60’s building, constructed with an house-hotel function along Corso Italia, between the ancient Roman city walls - still visible in the angular development of Cornaggia Street and Disciplini Street - and the Navigli cluster of Molino delle Armi Street and S. Sofia Street, has involved NCB in a retrofitting project able to enhance the pre-existent volumes through the spatial and functional rearrangement  of the interiors – with residential use or as service – and also the contextual facades rewriting.

The special building positioning - backward from the historical curtain line - and its particular supporting structure - characterized by a reinforced concrete facade of a pillars net anchored to an horizontal system - have led NCB in the concept definition aimed at bringing out the urban and structural extraordinary conditions of the construction, giving it an architectural facies which, in a compositional and outspoken way, could explain its unusual genetic conditions.

The plan disposition has been totally renewed. While at the ground floor commercial use has been kept, on the upper floors the original layout arranged on a central corridor which used to divide the sequence of 1 or 2 rooms flat has been removed, preferring big open spaces apartments, within which residential interiors take shape, preserving a functional flexibility.

The main front comes to life into a vertical pattern plan - composed by trapezoidal blades, with a steel core and heat-treated wood coating - which, overlapping the original facade cleaned up of superstructures, acts as a regulation-mitigation element of the heating and lighting inputs for the backward windows; simultaneously this pattern becomes an efficient visual and acoustic filter in order to give apartments more comfort and privacy – since the facing building  of Assicurazioni Ras has been realized in 1961-1962 by Giò Ponti, Antonio Fornaroli, Piero Portaluppi and Alberto Rosselli.

Eurythmy is broken through four squared bow-windows which jut out until the front profile, generating a figurative result inspired by Milan architectures of Asnago and Vender which tastes of abstact.

The back front overlooks the courtyard, renewed in order to facilitate the entrance to underground parking and also to give the building a suggestive garden protected through a green wall. The facade layout is structured around two main compositional matched themes: the sequences of balconies and the curtain wall system, irregularly intercut by some graphic panels used as vertical brise-soleil, giving dynamism and lightness to the general appearance. The materials palette intends to guarantee the building both durability and naturalness, creating a kind of skin able to synthesize, in a dialectical relation, the vernacular contents of Milan way of construct and also the new international architectural language instances.