The Sarca 235 project by Scandurra Studio involves the renovation of an existing building that is part of the broader transformation of an industrial area in the northeast of Milan.
The project is based on two simple, dimensional and geometric elements, designed to best meet the functional characteristics required by a commercial space: the intention was to completely transform office spaces designed for Coima.
Alessandro Scandurra says: ‘Today, functional standards have changed, as have the value that a company’s building can express. The main idea is to reopen the building to the city and to rebuild an urban experience at street level. I leaned on the established models of office buildings from the 60s, trying to move beyond the formal theme and focus on a few simple, expressive elements: air, which results from the transparency of materials, and light, which is refracted by the materials used in the stairwell structures.’
The main entrance opens onto Viale Sarca, where an urban square now makes the double-height central lobby more visible and connects the building directly to this street: a large mechanical gate ritualizes its opening to the city: ‘We’re talking about an urbanity that flows from a single experience. The building returns to the city, the gestures that compose it are mixed with those of the street to mingle in a new urbanity. This is an additional and unexpected private space that opens out to the city, alongside the public walkway,’ Scandurra remarks.
The themes on which it is based are: rationality, luminosity, flexibility, and the acceptance of the hall system. Within the interior spaces a “processionality” has been created in the crossing paths between the spaces—beginning from the exterior, where gold and light dominate, until reaching the upper floors of the offices, where one is immersed in the brightness and transparency of the work spaces.
For the changes to the facade, Scandurra Studio worked on the finishes, materials, and colours—using corrugated, gold-toned sheet metal, the panels of which, mounted with the rippled surface facing different directions, defines a characteristic surface in the stairwell structures, the entry, and the covered walkway. In this case gold interprets the maximum expression of a natural element: light. ‘The intention was to transform an image of flashes and light into reality. To somehow ‘supercharge’ reality as in a heavily-tweaked rendering 2D vs. 3D. The physicality of architecture vs. the photographic image and vice versa. A state of matter between the imagined and the real,’ stated Scandurra.
The rationality and quality of the building promote an architecture of well-being and give shape to a representative building, strongly characterized by a decorative metal coating obtained from a particular type of work done with the pigments and textures of sheet metal. The image is that of a dynamic and transparent building with a contemporary classicism that unites functionality with a high degree of formal value.
The aspects of sustainability and environmental compatibility are also paramount. For Alessandro Scandurra they are tied to, ‘a sense of responsibility that we cannot avoid; the building is certified LEED Platinum, because not only must it be energy efficient and technologically efficient, it must also address all of the levels that touch on human well-being. These are systems at different scales, which start with the building’s efficiency and follow through to the new needs that have led to an evolution in architecture in its socio-economic changes. Action and reaction, for sensitive architecture that dematerializes to become a support for living. Through technology we have created a certain degree of environmental comfort, integrating it with architectural elements and resulting in simple and comfortable spaces. This well-being is perceived and not displayed.’