Residential Complex - Wroclaw (Poland)

In-vitro post-rationalism

Carlo Paganelli
Year of completion

The goal of architecture is to achieve a degree of figurative autonomy that sets it apart from the standard building fabric. The residential complex in Wroclaw (a Polish city with a population of around half a million and the cultural hub of the Lower Silesia region) is situated in a kind of free zone and represents an example of a non-fictional narrative, a sophisticated exercise in style in which a project reflecting the splendours and utopias of an illustrious past has been introduced into a contemporary context. It stands in an interstitial position but without engaging historically with either of the two opposing polarities.
The trend towards mimicry, towards a project intentionally divorced from the language of contemporary architecture, reflects the cultural circumstances and stems mainly from the choice of well-established and therefore reassuring archetypes aimed at a market in which customers typically consider themselves to be social entities with their own clearly defined cultural identity and dignity.
It is only natural that architecture projects should reflect the cultural level of the architect. Differences in terms of quality do not derive so much from the decision to remain within the bounds of the specific field of activity as from an ability to navigate intelligently within any sphere, whether that of strict orthodoxy or the risky terrain of linguistic transgression. The new residential complex is divided into several units and displays a considerable variety of formal configurations. It reflects a kind of systematic research into experiential meaning based on a cognitive process deriving from the poetics of the rationalist school in its heyday, naturally revised on the basis of advances in building systems. One of the most significant innovations is the ventilated facade, which as well as having paved the way for construction technologies capable of solving problems relating to thermal insulation, has also contributed to improving the aesthetics of the architectural shell. In the specific case of this residential complex, the alternation of empty and filled transparencies creates articulated facades, while the ceramic curtain walls — made from ImolaCeramica’s Time porcelain tiles — define and modulate the volumes by means of variables and sharp contrasts based on two white and brown colour alternatives. While using elementary volumes that tend to reflect medium-level architectural typologies, the architect made abundant use of a kind of photomontage, skilfully assembling archetypes that descend from the great masters of the International Style. The stylistic mapping features strongly projecting balconies and extensive glazing in the guise of a large screen with a weight-reducing and energy-saving function.

ImolaCeramica, Time collection
porcelain stoneware
60x120 cm
white, brown
Technical characteristics
Water absorpion (ISO 10545-3): 0,05%
Chemical resistance (ISO 10545-13): compliant
Resistance to deep abrasion (ISO 10545-6): 140 mm³
Stain resistance (ISO 10545-14): compliant
Frost resistance (ISO 10545-12): compliant
Modulus of rupture and breaking strength (ISO 10545-4): 50 N/mm²
Slip resistance (DIN 51130): R9
Thermal shock resistance (ISO 10545-9): compliant
Crazing resistance (ISO 10545-11): compliant
Linear thermal expansion (ISO 10545-8): compliant
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