ACA: Morphologies of an identity - ISPLORA

Trailer Morphologies of an identity



In architecture, as in music, composing indicates the ability to order, align and combine different elements in a single complex system, in an orderly manner. It is thus possible to intend architectural composition as a process aimed at searching for meaning, form and function capable of revealing, in its final structure, its main melody. Its generative idea. Composition thus includes the analysis of logical approaches, on the one hand, and, on the other hand, of artistic ones regarding formal, volumetric and spatial choices, and the aggregation of architectural elements, as well as the identification of solutions that integrate function and form. 

A process that becomes a manifesto of distinctive design solutions and an opportunity for reflection for the firm ACA - Amore Campione Architettura, which interprets its aspects using four main themes: suspension, dialogue, grafting and contact.

The theme of suspension is shown in a language made of light forms, within a reuse intervention on the slopes of Etna: Casa CRV. A villa with palmenti (large tanks to press grapes) is emptied of its load-bearing walls, creating a structural system where the heart of the dwelling “hangs” from the vaults above. Traditional building materials are thus placed side by side with innovative structural systems, between steel tie rods and COR-TEN elements. COR-TEN itself becomes the protagonist of the new pavilion, built close to the existing main structure of the villa. An autonomous and flexible architectural object, characterized by the use of both glazed and opaque movable panels, in direct connection with the new terraced garden layout. 

The compositional, material and structural insights of Casa CRV are followed by a reflection in which the protection of the existing structure enters into dialogue with the new design. Demolition and renovation coexist, in fact, in the heart of Catania, in the design of Casa CCC, thanks to an approach aimed at respecting the history and memory of the building and the pursuit of a global architectural image. A constant dialogue between past and present, between the elements of Sicilian tradition and contemporary materiality, with natural, warm colors. A study that extends to every horizontal and vertical surface, with attention and care for details, finishes and lighting. A “summary” of this sensitive design approach is revealed in the facade, a place where different compositional languages coexist and enter perfectly into dialogue with each other and with the surrounding urban fabric.

Attention then shifts to the countryside, on the fertile slopes of Etna, towards an underground building, Cantina CGP. A new construction, where the profile of the volcano and the color of lava frame an expansion where grafting is the main concept, making it part of the surrounding context and enhancing its natural nuances and plant essences. A project where the ground hides a heart of steel and concrete, where symmetry and strict proportions become the protagonists of a work space. A project in which the natural component enters the design, showing an elevation entirely covered with the excavation material - carefully repositioned - and concealing a niche that allows the stratigraphic interpretation of the surrounding land. 

The last compositional aspect brought to light regards contact, in a human narrative of architecture, in the narration of domestic living spaces inserted in insular contexts. The roughness of the rock and the signs of history join together in a flexible and minimal, dynamic and intimate space, where each room changes and is capable of enhancing the spatial continuum and the contact with the materials typical of the context in which the existing architecture is inserted. An architecture, that of Casa CTL, which shows itself to nature and becomes its first spectator. 

The design excursus of Morphologies of an Identity captures through the various projects the specificity of each territory, bringing to light compositions in which different chromatic and material voices speak about formal harmony and architecture with a coherent language.

Learning objectives:

  • The lesson offers an excursus on residential and workspace architecture within the Sicilian territory, from the slopes of Etna to the urban fabric of Catania, to the island reality of Levanzo, delving into four compositional themes: structural suspension, dialogue between the existing and new structures, the concept of grafting into land morphology and biodiversity and the contact between natural materials and human gestures.
  • The theme of structural suspension narrates a cross section of design in which architecture feeds constructive feasibility, in the creation of a truss system from which existing vaults are “hung.” The demolition of the underlying masonry is, therefore, seen as a design opportunity to rethink a free plan within a historical building.
  • The lesson turns its attention toward the underground architecture of a wine production building, whose compositional and constructive structure dialogues with the context and the surrounding ecosystem. A box-like reinforced concrete structure fits into and camouflages with the context, allowing direct interpretation of the existing soil stratigraphy in its geological morphologies. 
  • A design issue of special interest for the lesson is the direct relationship between the existing and new interventions. This pivotal point is analyzed from multiple points of view and their related case studies, which show design sensitivity and a search for dialogue between the memory - of the place and the building itself - and the contemporary element.  A constant search is revealed in different interventions aimed at the reuse of historical buildings, in the attention paid to the use of techniques or materials typical of the local building tradition.

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