This is a project to create a multifunctional center in Ascoli Piceno, Italy, which will provide long-term services to the neighboring hospital and meet other needs (creating a rehabilitation center, a school for young patients, shops and other functions for the community). At the same time, the project will serve as a crucial lever for the sustainable development of the area, which is characterized by a lack of places for socialization and services, while the nearby natural green spaces and outdoor areas represent undeveloped areas and underused resources.
From the outset, the main strategic objectives of the project were clear:
- The creation of a network strategically planned over the entire urban area with energetic-ecological and social functions related to the immediate usability of urban spaces and the creation of structural and symbolic functions, a sense of belonging to the place as a carrier of the community's identity.
- Creating access and the possibility of direct interaction with the adjacent nature.
- Ensure that outdoor green spaces are available and accessible in sufficient numbers, as they have a significant positive impact on the health (both physical and mental) of residents.
- Create a public space reminiscent of a piazza (and in particular of the famous squares of Ascoli Piceno), a place for meeting and communication that promotes social cohesion and mutual understanding between the increasingly heterogeneous groups of the locality.
- Creating outdoor activities for all, a comfortable environment that "invites" people to visit and frequent the area, such as the creation of a dog park, suitable areas for planting, the creation of bicycle paths, playgrounds, areas for sports, etc.
Paths for cyclists and pedestrians will be created, a dense number of trees will be planted parallel to the road, playing the role of a wind and sound barrier for the noise generated by cars. On the south side, the site has a slight slope so that it is hardly noticeable when walking on it, and at the highest point is the entrance to the school (on the second floor). In this way, the building is like an organism that has grown out of the ground!
The built environment does not impose itself directly, but must be sought out: This gives the visitor direct access to all the primary elements of nature. The design is characterized by the search for pure architectural lines through simple, reticulated volumes and solid geometric forms. The complex consists of the intersection of three volumes, which allows an interesting manipulation of the space, using straight and perpendicular lines, planes, squares, rectangles and pure and essential colors. The "movement" of the volumes creates an interesting play of projections and recesses. The two main bodies are connected by a third floating body, under which the pedestrian zone runs. Moreover, some means are used (such as the design of the benches) to emphasize very clearly the horizontality of the forms and to emphasize the "lines of force" of the building. The volume located in the south does not cast a shadow on the second volume located in the north, thanks to its calculated height and distance, but in summer the central courtyard (public space), together with the outdoor pool (the indoor pool, which has a function of relaxation and recreation for patients, has been extended outwards into the public space not only for esthetic reasons but at the same time it contributes to improving the microclimate) and the vegetation create a pleasant environment. In addition, the hardwoods face west and protect the building from unwanted sunlight in summer, while the radiation contributes to internal comfort in winter.
The continuity of the façade encloses the public space, giving it (in perception) a sense of definition. An articulated construction, without a main façade. Compact physicality and at the same time transparent. The volumes are dematerialized by full and empty spaces and projections in a sequence that continues the viewer's gaze. The strong perspective is accentuated, an idea of dynamism. The window bands help to extend the building along the horizontal, allowing geometry to fade into the background. The window bands are thus not just signs of order lines. The projection of the second floor is calculated to shade the interior of the apartments on the first floor in summer and to let sunlight through in winter. The design of the sunshade on the second floor is an interesting research of manipulation that creates a beautiful and dynamic external sculptural element, while the refraction of the sun's rays inside forms an interesting pattern of shadows.
The spatiality is completely resolved. The spatial system is continuous and elastic, the spaces change as needed through mobile screens in a concept that adds the fourth, time, to the three Euclidean dimensions. Guest rooms can be expanded on the second floor. In addition, the organism could be transformed into a hotel or be a kind of hybrid, as needed.
The sincerity of the architectural lines is also reflected in the choice of materials: white plaster, concrete, wood. The wood adds chromatic notes to the bicolour of plaster and cement. The glass allows natural light to penetrate deeply and evenly into the interior spaces. The vertical walls of the building are not plastered, but the reinforced concrete remains visible as it appears after weakening. These walls are arranged in a harmonious sequence like a "domino" and contrast metaphorically with the natural elements, both formally and materially, discreetly distinguishing where the natural is and where the artificial begins to show how they merge.