Life is a diamond
5+1 AA Agenzia di Architettura
As its title suggests, the Life project carried out in Brescia in 2015 by architect Alfonso Femia together with the practice 5+1AA (now Atelier(s) Alfonso Femia) aims to meet the needs of current and future residents by creating human spaces that bring together innovation and tradition through plays of light, diversity of materials and large green spaces.
Alfonso Femia commented: “With the Life project in Brescia I wanted to overcome the indifference that has been such a common aspect of residential projects in recent years, where an excessive focus on rules and regulations has produced standardised buildings that fail to establish a sentimental and perceptive relationship with occupants and with the city as a whole.
“The material, particularly the Diamante Boa ceramic tile which I myself designed in collaboration with Casalgrande Padana and its technological innovation of the “zero joint”, reflects the empathic nature of matter and the way it reacts constantly with light. The resultant buildings are all different and maintain a continuous relationship with the various volumes making up the project. Each material has been given an innovative role and identity so as to be able to communicate with people and promote a dialogue and sense of belonging.
“It’s important to think of a living space as being constantly suspended between an intimate and a collective dimension.”
Part of a more extensive urban redevelopment programme, the project aims to reconnect urban areas that have become separated over the years, particularly the city centre, the recently-built suburbs and surrounding green spaces, while at the same time redeveloping a former industrial site that extends along the historic city walls outside the green belt, not far from the city’s original nucleus.
The residential complex stands out for the composition of its original façade solution, where ceramic is used in coordination with other materials including wood, plaster and fibre cement in a meticulously-designed arrangement of colours and surface finishes. The dynamic ceramic surfaces were created using diamond-shaped three-dimensional tiles produced specifically to the architect’s design.
But what makes the buildings so appealing and well-proportioned on a human scale is their horizontal dimension and the strong personality created by the lively composition of volumes divided into loggias, canopy roofs, terraces, courtyards, stairways, walkways and gardens. The understated architecture and composition lend continuity to the existing urban fabric and foster a sense of belonging amongst the new inhabitants. The gardens, which serve as a hub of socialisation for users of all ages, are organised into three green thematic areas: a tree-lined park, a playground and a water park.
Casalgrande Padana, Diamante R20
Water absorpion (ISO 10545-3): < 0,1%
Chemical resistance (ISO 10545-13): compliant
Resistance to deep abrasion (ISO 10545-6): ≤ 150 mm3
Stain resistance (ISO 10545-14): compliant
Frost resistance (ISO 10545-12): compliant
Modulus of rupture and breaking strength (ISO 10545-4): > 45 N/mm2
Slip resistance (DIN 51130): R9
Thermal shock resistance (ISO 10545-9): compliant
Crazing resistance (ISO 10545-11): compliant
Linear thermal expansion (ISO 10545-8): compliant