Residential building in Via dei Gracchi - Milan

A facelift and functional upgrade

The remodelling of a late 1960s apartment building in Milan achieves a major energy upgrade and functional improvement while highlighting the original architectural structure
Roberta Chionne
Antonino Cavallaro | Engineering System
Année de réalisation

This project concerns a residential building constructed in the late 1960s in Milan’s De Angeli district (also known as De Angeli-Frua), named after the De Angeli-Frua factory built in the late nineteenth century in what was then the village of La Maddalena. The area was badly damaged by bombing during the Second World War, but saw extensive residential construction in the post-war period. Since then it has undergone major urban and architectural renewal and is now one of Milan’s most prestigious areas. Like most of the surrounding buildings, the apartment block in Via dei Gracchi had been suffering from façade spalling and had needed repeated repairs to make it safe over the last ten years. With this in mind, in 2017 the residents decided to undertake more comprehensive renovation work, taking advantage initially of the so-called Ecobonus incentives and subsequently the « Bonus Facciate 90% » (Façade Bonus). The majority of the work was carried out between 2020 and 2021 under the second incentive scheme, including renovation of cold areas such as balconies and floors. The engineer appointed to oversee the project, Antonino Cavallaro from Studio Tecnico Engineering System, explained that the project involved both functional and energy efficiency upgrades, including the construction of a new envelope, roof insulation and ventilated façades. « We removed unstable portions of the façade and repaired the rest. We installed a 12 cm rockwool backing over which we built the ventilated façade, consisting of an aluminium structure and slabs fixed with expansion bolts and adhesives. It is therefore a reversible intervention where the original façade is still present underneath, albeit with gaps. » The products chosen for the ventilated façade are EC1 collection porcelain tiles supplied by Cerdisa: one with a slightly textured surface in a dark brown colour (City), the other with an ivory-coloured fluted surface (Farringdon). « By using two colours and two different types of finish, we were able to achieve a multitude of different effects. In particular, the fluted finish enhances the envelope and reflects the light in an unusual way. The same 60×120 cm size slab was chosen for both colours, while all the corner and mitre cuts were done by hand as part of a completely tailor-made architectural project. » The darker slabs used for the balconies, the cantilevers and the bottom section of the building contrast with the pale coloured base in a regular pattern that highlights the various portions and functions of the building. This elegantly underscores both the original architectural structure and the new look of the building and stands as a visual statement of renewal. Along with the aesthetic aspects, the project also included a functional upgrade that brought a considerable reduction in energy consumption for heating as well as a significant improvement in living comfort during the summer.

Cerdisa, EC1
porcelain stoneware
60x120 cm
Farringdon e City
Caractéristiques techniques
Water absorpion (ISO 10545-3): ≤ 0,5%
Chemical resistance (ISO 10545-13): B MIN
Resistance to deep abrasion (ISO 10545-6): ≤ 175 min3
Stain resistance (ISO 10545-14): conforme
Frost resistance (ISO 10545-12): conforme
Modulus of rupture and breaking strength (ISO 10545-4): ≥ 1300 N ( ≥ 7,5 mm) ≥ 700 N ( < 7,5 mm) ≥ 35 N/mm2
Slip resistance (DIN 51130): R10 A, R11 A+B+C
Thermal shock resistance (ISO 10545-9): conforme
Crazing resistance (ISO 10545-11): conforme
Linear thermal expansion (ISO 10545-8): conforme
Certifications et prix
ISO 14001
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