Reversed double-height

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Reversed double-height
Transformation of a residential building into a web-agency, Torino 2010

An important web-marketing agency moves into a conventional four-storey building out of the city center. It promotes a contest among design offices, requiring an architecture able to represent and strengthen the identity of its immaterial work, without relying on predictable cyberpunk or -worse- high-tech languages.
MARC wins the contest with this answer: the needed architecture is… restoration.
The necessary immateriality is achieved literally, subtracting material from all the thick layers that had hidden what gradually reveals to be a decent building from the beginning of the 20th century. So not only the brick walls of the original structure are unveiled, but also unsuspected concrete beams, niches, ceilings.

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The restoration is a radical one: subtractions go as far as demolishing the whole ground floor slab, which is replaced with an almost immaterial (it’s only 5 mm thick) perforated metal sheet. In this way any separation is eliminated between the entrance level and the underground floor – a “reversed double-height is obtained. The basement becomes a spacious and luminous cafeteria. In the rest of the building interventions are minimum, aimed to rationalize circulation and fluxes, and to provide the necessary flexibility for future expansions.

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Design: MARC
Designers: Subhash Mukerjee, Michele Bonino
Partners for engineering: INGEO Associati, Daniele Forte
Collaborators: Tommaso Rocca, Mi-Jung Kim, Julie Labbè
Contractors: Edil-Stil sas, Silvio Grosso
Client: Domino srl
Surface: 1250 sqm
Photos: Beppe Giardino