Apr 1, 2010

'X-TU Architects', MARK #25 Apr/May 2010

Mark Magazine
Publisher: Frame PublishersAmsterdam
ISSN: 1574-6453

Paris is a city constantly struggling with its own identity, mainly due to Haussmann’s 19th-century citywide renovations. Breaking these self-imposed limitations is a feat rarely met without speculation and intrigue, but Parisian-based X-TU Architects have just challenged the outdated restraints to create Haussmann’s 21st-century housing counterpart while still employing his 19th-century language: a cleverly clad 70-unit housing estate abundant in parking, privacy and strategically located community gardens.

The project’s beauty is in its simplistic approach to slipping in the existing context by incorporating a 19th-century Parisian housing estate, which helps to create ‘a continuous urban ribbon’. The entrance to the complex has been positioned in the rear, and continues through to a communal courtyard garden. This private green space branches off to sets of even more private staircases, with each stair servicing the individual entrances to the multiple clusters of stacked dwellings.

The estate is composed of mostly similar or slightly altered unit plans, with the exception of bi-level apartments that occupy the top two floors, with each including their own private garden. The oversized operable picture windows have been unexpectedly outlined and illuminated by a bright neon-yellow band of aluminium cladding. Explains X-TU, ‘the shading is achieved with interior sliding panels on the north elevation, and with shade panels that slide into the exterior wall for the top floor apartments.’ Simultaneously, the street-side façades are clad in a subdued silver aluminium, allowing the large windows to visually burst through the project’s façades, and give a hint of brightness to an otherwise Haussmann-dominated Parisian street.


'Exit Architetti', MARK #25 Apr/May 2010

Mark Magazine
Publisher: Frame Publishers, Amsterdam
ISSN: 1574-6453

Most Italian gravesites host small family chapels, or mausoleums, which often posses multiple components of ancient Roman or Greek architecture in their design. But nestled deep within the picturesque Italian city of Padova, Exit Architetti Associati have designed a family chapel that’s stripped of all traces of antiquity ornamentation, employing a simple material palette, a play of natural light... and built in seating? 

Why build seating within such a small family chapel? 

Giuseppe Pagano: Basically, you’ll have a personal and private space where you can go to think, meditate, concentrate and, above all, allow yourself  precious time to stay close to your loved ones. We wanted to design a comfortable space where the chapel’s family could visit their loved ones, sit and stay in contact with the natural elements beyond the chapel walls, but still be protected by them. 

And what a beautiful ceiling! What is it composed of? 

The roof was developed by joining Inox tubes that were soldered together; this produced a continual movement of light and shadows, which leads the user’s sight up towards the sky. A few of the Inox tubes are not covered or protected from the elements. Air and rain will pass through, which allows  the chapel user to see the light from above. With the continuous soft and changing light filtering through, the chapel visitor is able to appreciate the passing of time, and in the case of rain, the water will drain through holes in the chapel’s floor, which is composed of small white gravel stones. 

Exit Architetti