Maintaining a façade
Mariano De Angelis
Paolo De Michele, Gaspare Oliva, Nicola Pietrantonio
According to an old local saying, “People from Aversa have two faces like the arch of the Annunziata”, referring to the city’s famous architectural complex to brand its inhabitants as liars. More recent research suggests that the image sculpted on the monument’s gateway, consisting of a female figure with two crowned faces, is in fact a symbolic representation of the Aversans’ ability to distinguish between good and evil.
This ability to work on a multiplicity of faces – or in this case façades – by superimposing elevations, apertures, colours, shadows and different materials like fragments of restrained complexity and thereby restoring architectural dignity to a problematic pre-existing building is reflected in an interesting project carried out in Aversa by Paolo De Michele, Gaspare Oliva and Nicola Pietrantonio from the practice Res_Architecturae.
The reinforced concrete skeleton of a previously incomplete construction, with its fixed pillars and decking, provided the starting point from which to give form, content and added value to the building both on a private scale and in terms of urban quality. A key contribution consisted of the meticulous work on the internal and external vertical partitions, envisaged as elements capable of separating yet at the same time connecting the various floors of a complex architectural layout.
The architects explained: “These two aspects and their dialectical relationship are the underlying themes of the project, which it explores through the device of the double façade as a reinterpretation of certain experiments of Italian Rationalism. It consists of an internal façade, in which openings have been made almost mechanically to allow natural light to flow inside, and a more external façade that serves as a kind of compact urban screen, a fragment of a conceptual building front.”
The choice and combination of different material surfaces plays an important role in implementing these solutions.
According to the architects, the ground floor clad with Kerlite 3plus Road ultra-thin ceramic panels from the Over collection by Cotto d’Este “marks the point where the building is anchored to the ground, a kind of plinth that meets the twofold needs of ease of maintenance and recognisability of the commercial spaces. The first floor identified by the white colour of plaster is devoted to residential and small business use. The two levels are connected to each other and to the outside of the building by means of the four front sections clad with Kerlite 3plus STEEL from the Colors collection, which are traversed horizontally by metallic profiles and highlight the lines of force and the compositional alignments of the facade.”
The project won a special mention for its quality in the 8th edition of the Ceramics and Design architecture competition promoted by Confindustria Ceramica, Edi.Cer. and Cersaie.