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A Palazzina in Edinburgh

Alberto Rossini

“... for us, the void is that place where architecture draws space, where one can stay and dwell; emptiness is the centre where life begins, where man exists. ... ”

Manuel & Francisco Aires Mateus

The project was born from the study of the concept of space as an environment for interaction between people: the first approach was to think of the internal distribution of the building not only as a functional environment but as a place of life and sharing.

The shape of the building arises from the study of a central connecting space between the individual apartments that revolve around the distribution system and this allow them to use the entire footprint of the building.

This approach allows for a series of different relationships between the living spaces both with the external spaces of the city and with those of the central distribution core.
The concept of emptiness in this case expresses the development potential of a space generically considered accessory which now becomes the true hub of everyday life.

The theme of light is fundamental to provide each individual room with its own particular singularity: the large staircase that winds through the heart of the building enjoys the zenithal light which reverberates from the central distribution core.

The inner gallery radiates natural light into the distribution space and allows it to be used as a space for rest and community.
The individual apartments are designed to make the most of the light that comes from outside the building, through the large windows and the various terraces that become the daily life environment directly connected to the social life spaces.

The choice of the site was fundamental for the definition of the interior spaces of the building: the great urban void designed by the park of Gayfield Square allows the contribution of natural light to 360 degrees for all the facades of the building.

The redevelopment of the park through the creation of spaces for Housing allows it to re-propose itself as a sharing environment for the inhabitants of the neighbourhood: the park has large spaces and generous rooms on the ground floors of the two buildings, in addition to the existing trees and those of the project define a series of plays of light and shadow that allow the use of the park during the hottest hours of the day.

The generous spaces of the park influence the very character of the buildings and the nature of the individual apartments is designed to interact with the external spaces: the terraces and the views onto the park increase the amount of natural light inside the building and interact with the green areas of the city plan, creating a strong link between the project and the urban site.

The materials themselves are chosen to enhance the natural light filtered by the large glass surfaces: the stone floors and the pure white interior create interesting contrasts, enhance the quality of the interaction between space and light and increase the perception of the living space.

Lastly, for the external environments a structure in pigmented concrete was designed, in reference to the red sandstone, the material with which the Stone of Scone (or Stone of Destiny) was made, one of the most important monuments of Scotland located in the near Calton Hill.

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