The Formwork

Contemporary architects

OBR – Paolo Brescia and Tommaso Principi – Commons. Architecture as a cooperative evolutionary process.

The growth of global financial markets and international networks of specialized services has launched an impressive transnational economic, social and cultural process of changes in recent years.
In this context of increasingly fluctuating and indeterminate reality, we are further away from the Vitruvian triad of firmitas, utilitas and venustas. Also the role of architecture – understood as something necessarily entrenched in a site – should be reconsidered.
But how to frame architecture in contemporary globalization?
If for globalization we intend the planetary ensemble of the means of circulation and of the network of communication, then a key of interpretation may be provided from the juxtaposition that Paul Virilio identifies through world-city and city-world. The world has become a world-city, within which products of all types circulate and exchange, including messages, images, fashions, artists …
architects. But it is also true that the city is a world-city, with its ethnic, cultural and social differences. In this sense, the city-world belies the illusions of the world-city. It is on this uncertain terrain, suspended between the city and the world, that we think architects are called to act today.
After completing a few projects in Europe, Africa and Asia, in which we could investigate some crucial issues on new ways of contemporary living and on urban renewal, we intent to demonstrate that it is possible to develop a real estate development with a social sustainability, promoting – through architecture – the sense of community and the individual identities, sharing common values in the same common space.
In the light of these experiences, we are increasingly converging on the idea of design understood as the outcome (rather than the initialization) of a cooperative evolutionary process. Architecture is not an individual matter, it is a common task that will reveal within globalization, the awareness of individual identities and cultural specificities, which will be much more valued, as will be intense international exchanges, which are fundamental for the future.
Moreover, architecture, so anchored to its own site, must dependent on others and more dynamic means to spread the ideas it produces. To spread ideas is necessary to give them life and to test them in the world.
Paolo Brescia and Tommaso Principi

Read text

Jaipur (IN) 2013

Guided by an ethos of environmental and socio-cultural sustainability, the design approach aims to stimulates the local Indian economy and honours Jaipurian traditions. The design of the façade is inspired by the ancient Indian Lehariya. Just like a fabric, the facade creates a system of tana (warp) and bana (weft), composed by ceramic baguettes woven into metal bars, appearing as a macro textile, as a medium to connect contemporary architecture to artisanal traditions of Jaipur. The socio-cultural sustainability of the design is further reflected in the ceramic baguettes, which are hand-made by local artisans, highlighting the “multiplicity” of the building process, based on the (handmade) repetition, and not not mere (industrial) multiplication.

Ex Cinema Roma
Parma (IT) 2013

The redevelopment project of the Ex Cinema Roma for office, commercial and residential use occurs through the reconfiguration of the existing volumes in two complementary directions, one internal and one external, with total built area of 1,400 sqm. Externally the building is covered with a system of modular shading panels made of natural material, consequently obtaining a buffer between the internal and external space that regulates the irradiation, the humidity and the thermal variations, increasing the overall energy valences of the building. In landscape design, the pursued approach involves the creation of a urban square that forms an intermediate space between city, garden and building.

Children’s Hospital
Parma (IT) 2003

Inspired by the criteria of humanisation and environmental psychology, the design aims to create a place “designed around the children”. The design aims to create a visual relationship between the building and its surroundings to enhance the patients’ perception of natural phenomena. The double-skin façade acts as an architectural device linking interior to exterior. The façade reflects the surrounding environment of the hospital, whilst creating a buffer zone. The colours of the external layer recall the chromatic palette of the context of the hospital. The internal spaces are all directed toward the landscape to allow penetration of natural light, thus facilitating the orientation within the hospital.

Milano (IT) 2010

The design of the Milanofiori Residential Complex seeks a symbiosis between architecture and landscape. The interface between the building and the garden activates the interaction between the inhabitants and the surrounding environment. The juxtaposition of the glass greenhouse and the glass guardrail blurs the boundary between figure and ground. This produces a kaleidoscopic effect, in which the reflection of the outside public park overlaps with the transparent private gardens. The extension of the interior living space toward the exterior landscape provides a buffer zone for thermal regulation. The porosity of the Milanofiori Residential Complex provokes a dynamic interaction between man and environment through its architecture.

Request Hi-res