Our proposal looks at the process of creating housing for the elderly, in the middle of Coldererio Town, as an opportunity to investigate issues like the structure of the settlement in relation to the landscape, basic organization, feel, density, memory, identity, etc.

We do not wish to create an isolated development but, instead, aim to use the link between the low-density urban situation and green landscape as a strategy for integration. The idea is to use familiar, time-honored urban elements, like the forum, piazza, and colonnade, transforming them to generate a legible spatial configuration for the project.

We consciously retained and transformed two existing buildings in addition to the city council, secondary school, and kindergarten, as a memory to how the site has evolved over time. Their location and sizes largely determined the configuration and sizing of the proposed volumes.

The program is broken into three parts by means of different levels, instinctively aggregated around the movement routes into and through the site. Each programmatic volume is both autonomous and related in a way to create a seamless relationship with the terrain, opening up to the sports field southeast of the plot.

The spatial sequence of the circulation and voids in the central area of the volumes create several gathering spaces for social interaction. The ground floor is reserved for reception areas and public spaces. The landscape continues through the volumes, which are oriented obliquely to each other, defining public and private spaces. The inner courtyard is for senior citizens.

The ensemble has two different scales, appropriate for two different functions: the public and the houses. A modular roofing system, reminiscent of barn structures of the Ticino region, has been used to unify them formally. We propose the buildings to be built in concrete and timber. The use of wood as a facing material gives the entire project a sense of unity.

The relation between the existing situation and the new intervention is meant to be both ambiguous and explicit; its arrangement allows relationships and outcomes to emerge while retaining the site’s recognizable geographical peculiarities.

Housing for the Elderly: Integration through aggregation (Coldrerio) | date : 2015 | location : Coldrerio, Switzerland | team : Madhusudhan Chalasani, Mario Galiana, Bruno Sirabo, Fernando Royo, Alba Moreno, Bharat Kumar | status : International Architecture Competition