Projects

Building Complex in Via Forze Armate - Milan

Views over the rising city

COMPOSITIONAL COMPLEXITY AND SOPHISTICATED FACING MATERIALS CREATE A SOPHISTICATED URBAN-SCALE OBJECT
Author
Carlo Paganelli
Architect
Giovanni Mistretta
Surfaces
FLOOR GRES
Year of completion
2009

“A project must be pleasing to the architect, the client and end users: architecture should be envisioned as a large sculpture in which the proportions, colours and various constituent parts come together harmoniously.” Responsible for creating numerous buildings in Milan and outside Italy, Giovanni Mistretta draws a clear distinction between building and architecture, arguing that beauty is the true added value of an architectural work. His buildings, fairly unique in Italy, are fascinating not only for their skilful volumetric construction but also for their facades clad entirely with ceramic materials, a kind of skin tattooed with sophisticated colour contrasts and large colour fields that enhance not only the building itself but also its surroundings. For the building complex in Via Forze Armate in Milan, he chose Chromtech/1.0 series tiles from Floor Gres, a highly effective product that is ideal for the curtain walls used in the project. The presence of an air space between the facing and the building’s structure assures insulation due to the airflow, described in technical terms as a “chimney effect”. Of course, if the visible external surface is made of an aesthetically appealing material that is also resistant to the elements and urban pollutants, the building will have minimal maintenance costs. Curtain walls and ceramic materials can be used to create a hermetically sealed but ventilated shell that meets energy saving standards. This is one of the most modern and reliable construction procedures and offers a technological solution for reducing the phenomenon of thermal bridges, very often the cause of condensation and mildew.
By combining volumetric complexity, attention to detail and a choice of unique materials for a language that focuses on beauty, architecture supersedes its function of a receptacle for humans and objects and becomes a sculptural work in which proportions and colour balance contribute to the definition of a structure of lines and volumes in harmony with the surroundings and the urban context. The housing complex is situated in a semi-suburban area with high-level residential characteristics. It has a fairly complex geometry in which the curved shapes reveal an intention to create a “visual machine”, a continuous observatory onto the urban landscape without dead corners, offering a view of that area of the city undergoing constant building development, a changing urban organism featuring a wealth of events and building sites. In short, it is a metropolis, a “rising city” as the futurists described Milan in the early years of the twentieth century. Given the attention to detail, projecting volumes and interactions between architectural units with many variations in form, suitable materials were required to enhance the value of a building envisioned as an urban-scale object. Like other housing complexes designed by Giovanni Mistretta, this building is clad with ceramic. This polished skin envelops the joins between the cylindrical units, sinuous undulations and sharp profiles which, like stone blades, cut out portions of a metropolitan sky that is sometimes clear and resplendent, sometimes as dense as a grey felt backdrop that is impervious to light but sensitive to the razor-like thrusts of this extraordinary architecture.
The Chromotech series makes the building a sophisticated urban-scale object and preserves its luminosity and consistency over time.
Meticulously designed details and geometric “tattoos” give lightness to even the most imposing buildings. Architecture can serve as a code for conveying the language of modernity. The materials used for the curtain walls combine beauty and environmental sustainability.

Tiles
Floor Gres, Chromtech/1.0 Series
Type
porcelain stoneware
Sizes
30x60
Colours
warm 1.0, warm 4.0
Technical characteristics
Water absorpion (ISO 10545-3): <=0,1%
Chemical resistance (ISO 10545-13): UA ULA UHA
Resistance to deep abrasion (ISO 10545-6): <150 mm3
Stain resistance (ISO 10545-14): conforme
Frost resistance (ISO 10545-12): conforme
Modulus of rupture and breaking strength (ISO 10545-4): >45 N/mm2
Slip resistance (DIN 51130): R11
Thermal shock resistance (ISO 10545-9): conforme
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