Mathematically, the sum of two objects can never add up to three. However, when it comes to design, two spaces can sometimes become three, as exemplified by this home designed by MdAA Architetti Associati, an Italian architectural practice who approached this project from a different perspective.
“In one of the historic apartment buildings in the EUR district, a tower block near the iconic bar and restaurant called Il Fungo (‘the mushroom’), the buyer purchased two separate flats, one beneath the other on the first and second floors,” says MdAA Architetti Associati. “The design challenge was to join together the two flats into one coherent home. However, to implement, in terms of space, something much more substantial than the sum of the two flats is to carry out a “1+1=3” strategy, both from the point of view of the light (before the work the first floor flat was quite dark) and the heights (the distance between the floors of flats in this type of building is 2.8m, which in large spaces is slightly restricted), as well as the finishes and domestic installations.”
According to the architects, the flats are located in what is perhaps the most important apartment building in the district. “Even the architecture of the building, built in the second half of the 1960s, has somewhat maintained its own character years later,” the firm adds. “Starting from the second floor, the tower block is completely surrounded on all sides by large balconies, and it is these that give character to the entire building.”
Coming down to the lower floor of the two units bought by the owner, this level faces the eastern side of the building, forming the longitudinal aspect of the flat which also houses a garden. From here, there is a circular continuity between the first and second floors, with two perfectly level metal walkways leading from the second floor balcony to an elevated path at the same level as the balcony but within the garden. This has created a level rectangular path which, on the long sides is formed by the balcony on one side and a garden path on the other, and on the short sides by the walkways. These lead down to the flat area in front of the garden, on the first floor, the external extension of the entire
“This is a great advantage on the one hand, but on the other, as it is a steep slope rising gradually away from the house, less light enters and the flat is quite dark,” the architects comment. “The design challenge was to spatially unite the first and second floors, not only with an internal staircase but also with a large opening between the two floors; as a consequence light can pass through to the lower floor and create spatial unity between the two flats.”
This spatial treatment results in larger spaces for the owners to accommodate even an art gallery within the home, while enjoying immediate access to the garden. “Following this logic, the bedrooms are located on second floor. The large living room, enhanced by the staircase and double height,
includes two walls dedicated to the owner’s collection: an art gallery in a home!” the architects share.
Materials used include innovative and handmade maple boards parquet and ceilings. Here, the parquet flooring has been constructed using traditional crafting techniques to shape large, rectangular maple boards for the floors. “All the floors are lined with bands of waxed iron running along the walls and used as thresholds beneath the doors and in correspondence of the openings in the walls,” adds the architects.