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© 2020 by radioarchitettura

Casa del Sassofonista

Rome, Italy - 2018

Photography: Simone Bossi

The apartment designed for a saxophonist is located in a historical building in Rome city center, in the urbancontext of the Rione Esquilino, facing the “Acquario Romano”.The original apartment has undergone several changes over time, decreasing the historical character and altering the original spaces. Our aim was to restore the original walls, allowing a continuous connection between each individual room, ensuring maximum permeability of the spaces. The details of the original ceiling decorations is a recurring motive: every room has a different set of decorations which characterizes the historical style of the apartment in a harmonious coexistence with the contemporary furniture and technologies. All rooms are provided with chevron hardwood floors, with an exception for the bathroom that features a continuous resin floor. An essential intervention, capable of enhancing its history in harmony with the needs of contemporary living.

Apartment in Southern Italy

Fondi, Italy - 2019

Photography: Simone Bossi

SET Architects completes an early 1900 apartment that plays on the dialogue between history and modernity. The use of natural materials such as wood and marble, the careful study of colors and the relationship between light and shadows give life to a project with an elegant atmosphere suspended over time.

The apartment is located in the historic center of Fondi, a small town in central Italy. In the late '50s the apartment fell into disuse until the 2018 when a young couple of entrepreneurs decided to buy it and renovate it. At the time of the purchase, the space still presented the typical twentieth century subdivision with many rooms served by a distribution corridor. The strategy of the project was to adapt the flat to the contemporary lifestyle of the young owners through large and fluid spaces while retaining some elements that recall the original character of the apartment.

The leitmotif of all the intervention is the use of white paint and oak wood giving at the same time an essential and warm feeling to the domestic environment. The purity of the rooms was therefore contaminated by a game of contrasts with original elements of the apartment such as Carrara marble, the white lacquered wooden window frames, and the lamps designed to reflect the spirit of that time.

Being on the top floor, various types of skylights have been used to ensure natural light in all the spaces, as well as interesting plays of heights and light.

The most peculiar room of the apartment is the master bedroom which has been designed as an independent mini-suite, with the bed in the middle of the room, the large wall-wardrobe and the walk-in shower integrated with hydromassage.

The photographer, Simone Bossi, captured the house using an analog camera when the owners were moving into the apartment.

Bologna Shoah Memorial

Bologna, Italy - 2016

Photography: Simone Bossi

Bologna Shoah Memorial

Bologna, Italy - 2016

Photography: Simone Bossi

Built in less than two months, the Memorial is a recognizable landmark of great emotional power. It is located at the intersection of Via dé Carracci and Ponte Matteotti, a city square encompassed by the newly- installed high-speed train station of Bologna. This area is primed to become the new connective pole of the city. As such, the monument attracts passers-by, inviting them to reflect on the tragedy of the Holocaust. The Memorial is made up of two symmetrical cor-ten steel parallelepiped blocks of 10x10m each; the blocks sit adjacent to one another, perpendicular to the existing walls of the square. Their position converges to create a path, which begins with a width of 1.60m, drastically narrowing to just 80cm. The path generates an immediate feeling of oppression.

At the interior of the Memorial, the volumes present a grid of horizontal and vertical metal sheets which intersect at 90°, giving shape to a series of rectangular empty boxes of 1.80 x 1.25m – these boxes represent the cells of the dormitories in the concentration camps. The exterior façade of the Memorial overlooks the city, resembling a blank page – perhaps it is of a history yet to be written? And, along the perimeter of the cells, slight steel protrusions symbolize feelings of contemporary awareness. The choice of cor-ten steel is deliberate: it is a material that will naturally rust when exposed to open air. As the years pass its corrosion will display the vestiges of time, demonstrating that all things have a rich history behind them. The paving of the path between the two blocks is realized in ballast, basalt stone chippings typical of the roadbeds. This represents the Judenrampe (“ramp of the Jewish”), which was the name given to the trek prisoners made from Auschwitz I (Stammlager concentration camp) and Auschwitz II (Birkenau one). The empty echoes of footsteps across the stones coupled with the restriction of the passage instills a keen sense of anguish: in this way the Memorial takes on life and evokes the drama of the memory. Further, light plays an essential role in the culmination of the monument. During daytime when the square is lit by sun’s rays, the passage becomes immersed in a dim, contemplative light, allowing the visitor to calmly reflect. Then at night, strategically placed artificial light illuminates the primary volumes, magnifing the majesty of the Memorial. In total, the Memorial, distinguished by its historical ambition, abandons rhetorical and didactic conventions in order to emphasize the importance of emotions: in this way SET Architects succeeded in designing a monument that utilizes present sensibility to narrate the past.




SET Architects - Bologna Shoah Memorial

Sassa School Complex

Sassa (AQ), Italy - 2018

Ten years after a destructive earthquake rocked Italy’s central Abruzzo region, many students still attend class in temporary modules similar to containers. Named winners of an international competition, SET Architects’ design for the new “Sassa School Complex” proposes reconstructing a place for students and the community to learn, gather, and grow. Inspired by the modularity and essential nature of climbing frame play structures, the architects describe the design as a metaphor for “freedom and social aggregation as a fundamental value for dynamic and innovative teaching.”

Located in the town of Sassa, near L’Aquila (the town most affected by the 2009 earthquake), the project is situated strategically to be accessible from many surrounding communities affected by the earthquake. SET Architects’ design also utilizes a sustainable, flexible, and seismic-resistant XLam wood panel structure in the case of any future earthquakes in the area. The simple geometries and natural materials blend the building into its surrounding landscape, creating a continuous conversation between indoor and outdoor spaces and between learning and social spaces. The jungle-gym-inspired external frame performs multiple functions in the design. As a pergola, it runs throughout and connects the different buildings, also serving as brise-soleil for south-facing classrooms and as a transitional element between the buildings and gardens. Operable glass facades on the ground floor give visual transparency and the opportunity for expanded learning space beneath the pergola in nice weather. Designed for flexibility and adaptability, the complex integrates a mixture of public and private spaces of different sizes throughout. Through the use of modular furniture, movable walls, and other transformative elements, students and community members can use these spaces to meet the needs of any activity. In learning spaces, students are encouraged to develop autonomy and creativity by becoming actively involved in the space and appropriating it for themselves and their needs.

The design considers sustainability and the health and well-being of the users in its material choices and in its careful layout and orientation of buildings on the site. Conceived as a series of independent buildings connected by a self- supporting porch, SET Architects’ design could be constructed in multiple phases for ease of implementation.