How to play the (horizontal) plane

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How to play the (horizontal) plane
Transformation of a house, Torino 2015

Attics in Piedmontese traditional houses are often difficult to use. Spaces are narrow and ceilings are always too low to be able to inhabit them. Moreover, if they are locate in listed areas, it is not even possible to raise the roof, nor to change its shape.
But the owners of this house really needed to use the attic: their three children were growing and they needed spaces for studying, for playing, and for some privacy.
Thus there was a clear architectural problem: how to obtain the necessary heights of the ceilings without being able to work on the roof?

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The project decided to work on the existing slab that separated the main level of the house from the attic. This slab became the core of our design: it was made by a regular structure of parallel metal beams spaced approximately a meter. Between the beams there was a light masonry filling. Our design is precisely about the space between the beams: without moving the beams, the fillings between the beams were moved up and down (a little bit like they were the keys of a piano) to obtain the necessary heights. The once continuous slab was now divided into several stripes placed at different levels. One stripe became a desk, some stripes remained floors, one stripe became a bed, etc.
In this way the needed spaces appeared, while in the meantime both the attic and the lower floor acquired a new more exciting identity.

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Design: MARC
Designers: Subhash Mukerjee, Michele Bonino
Collaborators: Lucia Baima, Roberta Mazzoni, Francesco Strocchio
Partner for engineering: FRED srl
Client: private
Surface: 200 sqm
Photos: Beppe Giardino