This is a project related to the creation of a multifunctional center in Ascoli Piceno, Italy, designed to provide long-term services to the neighboring hospital and to meet other needs (creation of a rehabilitation center, a school for young patients, shops, and other functions for the community). At the same time, the project is intended to act 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:
- To create a network strategically planned over the entire urban area with energetic-ecological, and social functions, related to the immediate usability of urban spaces and to create structural and symbolic functions, a sense of belonging to the place as a carrier of identity for the community.
- To provide access and the possibility of direct interaction experience with the adjacent nature.
- Ensure that outdoor green spaces are sufficient and accessible, as they have a significant positive impact on the health (both physical and psychological) of residents.
- Create a public space reminiscent of a piazza (and in particular of the famous squares of Ascoli Piceno), a place of encounter and communication that promotes social cohesion and mutual understanding between the increasingly heterogeneous groups of the locality.
- Creation of 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 placed parallel to the road, playing the role of wind and sound barrier for the wind and sound caused by the 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 is not directly imposed, 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 street runs. Moreover, some means are used (such as the design of the benches) to emphasize very clearly the horizontality of the forms and to highlight 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 the patients, was not only extended outwards to the public space for esthetic reasons but thus contributes to improving the microclimate at the same time) and the vegetation create a pleasant environment. In addition, the hardwoods face west and protect the building from unwanted solar radiation in summer, while in winter the radiation contributes to internal comfort.
The continuity of the façade encloses the public space and gives it (in perception) a sense of definition. 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.. Strong perspective is accentuated, an idea of dynamism. The window bands help to elongate the building along the horizontal, allowing the geometry to fade into the background. The window bands are thus not simple signs of regulatory lines. The cantilever of the second floor is calculated to shade the interior of the first-floor apartments in summer and ensure sunlight penetration in winter. The design of the sunshade of 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 forms an interesting pattern of shadows inside.
Spatiality is completely dissolved. The spatial system is continuous and elastic, the rooms varying as required by mobile screens, in a conception that adds to the three Euclidean dimensions the fourth, time. The hospitality spaces can be extended on the second floor. In addition, the organism could be transformed into a hotel or be a kind of hybrid, depending on the needs.
The sincerity of the architectural lines is also projected on the choice of materials: white plaster, concrete, wood. The wood adds chromatic notes to the bicolor of plaster and cement. The glass allows natural light to penetrate deeply and homogeneously into the interior spaces. The vertical, strongly horizontal walls of the building are not covered with plaster, but the reinforced concrete remains visible as it appears just after the mitigation. These walls are placed in a harmonic sequence like a "domino" and contrast metaphorically with the natural elements, as to form, but also materially, discreetly distinguishing where the natural is and where the artificial begins and reflecting how they flow into each other.