A powerful contrast of tones and material
In a quiet residential neighbourhood in the Adriatic seaside town of Riccione, a new building was recently constructed close to Viale Ceccarini, an avenue leading to the famous waterfront. With a vertical cut dividing the building into two symmetric volumes each with a single-pitch roof, it is at first glance reminiscent of Il Girasole, the famous house designed by Luigi Moretti in Viale Buozzi in Rome in 1950. And as in that house – a masterpiece of poetic rationalism hailed by some critics as a forerunner of Postmodernism – here too the central shaft houses the stairs and lift running between the various apartments. The outer sides accommodate two duplex apartments with independent entrances extending over four floors and connected to the garage by a private internal staircase. In total the building contains 9 dwelling units.
The complex was designed by young architect Federica Signorini, whose architectural style – based on the buildings she has completed to date – displays a sense of linearity and decorative essentially of clearly rationalist inspiration in which the aesthetics reflect the internal residential functions with great expressive power. She commented: “The building layout fully exploits the size of the plot by closely following its perimeter. The volume of the building is greatest on the ground floor, then decreases towards the upper floors to leave room for loggias and terraces. From a formal perspective, my project aimed to give a sense of movement to the façades by creating intersections between volumes, beams and columns – elements that are emphasised through the use of different materials and colours.”
The aim of giving a binary appearance to the envelope was achieved by means of a balanced and harmonious juxtaposition of a pale-coloured trowelled render with a cladding of wood-effect ceramic from Panaria cut from 3 metre long panels to create a decking effect. Further sections are covered with 60×120 cm porcelain tiles from Mirage. “I chose Panaria because I needed a lightweight, thin material (just 3 mm thick) that would be flexible and available in a large size,” explained Federica Signorini. “It needed to be glued to the thermal insulation so I didn’t want it to be too heavy. All of these requirements are met by the Doghe 3mm porcelain series. The 3 metre by 1 metre size of the panels helped me create the slat effect I was looking for during the design stage. It also allowed me to incorporate horizontal joints filled with black grout to reproduce as closely as possible the wood decking used in boats, a reference to the seaside location of Riccione and the Riviera.”
And to keep the lines of the building as clean and linear as possible, the parapets were made of glass and fixed to the masonry using recessed steel supports. “To reduce the impact of the elevations, I introduced large windows shaded by metal sunscreens painted the colour of the façades,” commented the architect. Overall it is a highly successful project that stands out for the refined simplicity of its lines and volumes. And rather than having an invasive impact on the context, it elevates it from the mundane anonymity of the existing urban fabric.
Ceramica Panaria, Doghe 0.3 series
Water absorpion (ISO 10545-3): ≤0,1%
Chemical resistance (ISO 10545-13): ULA-UHA
Resistance to deep abrasion (ISO 10545-6): ≤ 175 mm3
Stain resistance (ISO 10545-14): compliant
Frost resistance (ISO 10545-12): compliant
Modulus of rupture and breaking strength (ISO 10545-4): ≥ 35N/mm3
Slip resistance (DIN 51130): R10
Thermal shock resistance (ISO 10545-9): compliant
Linear thermal expansion (ISO 10545-8): compliant