1000 words about ...

 

Casa BL, by Burnazzi-Feltrin Architetti:

 Casa Bl- west facade

Casa Bl- west facade

This residence, conceived for a family consisting of two parents and two children, is the result of a refurbishment with an extension of a 1960s building. Neuroarchitectura has chosen this project as a good example of architecture of wellbeing, therefore it will get over the classical analytical and critical description about the composition, the style and the choice on the materials used, to consider only the aspects dealing with the journal topic. That means it will deal with those features that "silently" affect the occupant and are responsible of a diffuse sense of pleasure which  you don't know exactly where it comes from.

Beyond the label of minimalism, which undoubtedly distinguishes most of Burnazzi Feltrin design, we would like to draw our attention towards two areas of the house: the dining area with a view of the village, and the glazed staircase that connects the ground floor with the upper one, where true private living take place.

The dining area is located in a privileged position, as it opens onto a huge window with direct views of the historic center of Pergine, with its castle, church, and revealing the background skyline.with the Brenta mountains and other minor relieves   All this gives a sense of control over the surrounding territory, anthropized and not, and also infuses a deep sense of security, typical feeling of being in a place protected by external agents, where you can see what happens without being seen. The sense of control does not result in dominance, since the building's elevation is not such as to allow a view from above, but is reinforced by the relaxing effect of the view of the surrounding green peaks and the sense of identity and belonging to the place, due to the iconic bell tower view. These factors are in perfect adherence to biophylic design, the design protocol that is based on 14 spatial "patterns" based on the main ways to relate with nature. These features are proven to have a beneficial effect on the occupants and, depending on the type of relationship you create, you can reduce stress, improve creativity or clarity of thought, and, in particular conditions and layout, speed up healing processes. In our specific case, we are referring to two patterns defined as "Prospect" and "Refuge", two typical configurations in the Nature Space category (distinct from the other two categories "Nature in Space" and "Nature Simulated") that are important to obtain restorative effects related to the idea of withdrawal and isolation, whether alone or in small groups. The resulting contemplative and relaxing experience for space dedicate to social or dining is a very pitch-perfect strategy, as it is the similar solution adopted in the master bedroom.

 Dining Area with the view.

Dining Area with the view.

The relationship between the house and the surrounding landscape reveals a strong similitude with Miesian architecture, especially for the use of neutral colors in  finishes and the minimalism of furniture, which are in contrast with to the richness of the view and makes this one the ultimate protagonist of the whole environment.

Another very interesting element of this home is the staircase that connects the ground floor with the core of the house in the upper floor. The ramp looks ethereal and uplifted as it does not only lack of the raisers but presents glass threads: the final effect, for those who are unfamiliar with the place, is at the limit of the turmoil. The design choice is courageous since the stair, as element of connection and transition from one environment to another, would require a certain structural reliability, at least at sensory level.

On the contrary, its immateriality, although elegant, feeds the discomfort for a perceived unreliability. 

However, since it is a private environment, it is clear that this courageous design choice is satisfying as long as the customer is not only aware of the risks but fully agrees on the final decision. This design solution clearly dissents  from Mies idea of New Objectivity, (just to resume the discourse on previously observed assonances), but is evident expression of subjectivity in design. The announced  revolution in the paradigm of the project, born from the collaboration of architecture with other scientific and humanistic disciplines, actually resides in  the open-end approach, which is analytical, searchesfor specific solutions based on available data, without ever giving any choice for granted or fixed a priori.

 
 The glazed stair let the door to the laundry below.

The glazed stair let the door to the laundry below.

In this case, the main concern of our client is to get a visual control over the kids even when they are far off, and he thinks that a stair like this would allow supervision during the domestic work within the laundry, located on the intermediate landing. The need for visibility and control overcomes the sense of discomfort offered by transparency. Probably the client is particularly skilled in proprioceptive sensory system: he can easily accept the design solution without being scared, and he expect his children being equally skilled and having a similar perception of the architectural element. 

What considerations can we make about the guest who comes to visit ? What can be his immediate reaction?

In a public environment a stair like this could rise problems because the reaction of astonishment and surprise can evolve into two distinct ways: on one hand the sense of mystery might lead to curiosity, which might be resolved in pleasure. On the other hand the perception of danger might let the anxiety take over, creating discomfort.

 

 the glazed stair - first flight

the glazed stair - first flight

The stylistic, structural and technological solution adopted in this case has a well-defined (achieved) goal: the glazed staircase is a signal for a "restricted traffic zone" to discourage, rather than denying, the access to foreigners in order to assure the privacy to the areas dedicated to home-working and relaxation. 

This solution delivers a message which is whispered rather than waved, and the effectiveness of such discretion demonstrates how the environment has an enormous potential in shaping our actions and our emotional reactions. And this is what neuro-architecture is mainly about.

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