Design: Comoglio architetti
Photography: Beppe Giardino
“Ex-Sellerie” (Former Saddleries ) is a building belonging to Turin disused Military Arsenal complex which has been neglected for a very long period, with clear signs of structural degradation. Beyond the need to repair the nineteenth century masonry, at the time of the assignment there was a truss structure that raised the building two-story higher, creating a general sense of messy inconsistency.
The intervention aims at recovering the image of the complex, by coating the existing structure with an homogeneous curtain made of perforated sheet. This sort of skin has the role of a permanent veil which covers the compositional disorder but, at the same time, betrays the heritage underneath it. On the long side towards the street, the homogeneity of the gray-green panelling is partially broken by the accurate positioning of squared bow windows, whose bright colours show them up in the facade, and create peculiar glimpses of city landscape. Inside the renovated part of the building there are facilities of common interest, such as a restoration school, a kindergarten, and a collective residential floor for Ser.Mi.G activities. All different areas are divided into levels, in order to maintain a general functioning autonomy. The interior part of the building shows how much attention has been paid to the details, whose need to be in accordance with the overall effect. The vaulted spaces assigned to the restoration school maintain all the main features of the existing structure, while the rooms of the kindergarten took on a modern look thanks to the strong contrast between the large polymer flooring and the bright walls, and thanks to the variable height of the ceiling with inclined planes. The long linear corridor in the kindergarten has been made dynamic thanks to the wavy false ceiling which creates a sort of colourful wave.
Sustainability has been taken into consideration in different ways. The first one regards social sustainability. The Ser.Mi.G. association promotes projects able to generate architectural and urban regeneration through the provision of collective services to the community of citizens, particularly to the less fortunate members of the society.
Despite a low budget, the energy efficiency goal has been fulfilled by an overall strategy that aims at lessening the use of resources. Besides the role of solar shading played by the zinc-titanium perforated skin outside the large windows on the facade, the building has been equipped by modulating condensing boilers, radiant floors, solar panels on the rooftop.
As regards manufacturing techniques, we decided to use dry construction, environmentally friendly materials, flexibility of the interior spaces and the rapid assembly of building components. Doing so, we achieved all the set goals.