The 3-storey building is part of a row house block within a neighborhood in the north-east area of Milan, planned in the 1920s according to the principles of the garden city. As in the classic english town house, the plot is narrow and deep, with a narrow street frontage and a private garden on the back. The project consists in the attic renovation to create a duplex apartment on the top and interior refurbishment of the lower floors.
The new attic volume represents a mediation element between the classic architectural language of the front and the look of the rear facade, redesigned during the 1980s and characterized by modernist-like ribbon window. The new attic relates not only with the two facades, but it deals also with the delicate issue of integration in a homogeneous urban context.
The new attic is a flexible space, and thanks to movable walls could be used according to the client needs: as a large living room provided with two terraces – one on the front and one on the back – and a small bedroom; or as a west-oriented studio and a bigger bedroom towards the rear garden.
In order to fulfill the local building regulations, the section of the new attic maintains, on the front, the continuity with the eaves line and the slope of the existing and the adjacent pitched roof. The ridge is lifted and shifted towards the back to gain the right height in the interior, and a new terrace is designed in the rear part, becoming ton the top of the volume added to the facade in the 1980s.
The extension has been designed to be entirely constructed in timber: a new slab in cross-laminated timber elements was laid onto the existing load-bearing walls, becoming the support base for the new walls, also made out of timber elements with birch plywood on both sides, insulated with mineral wool panels. The roof uses the same constructive system, with the insulation in-between the beams in order to restrain the thickness of the roof slab and achieve a minimal and essential look, being the beams hidden underneath birch plywood finish. The need for a lightweight and cheap structure that could be built in a short amount of time, strongly characterized the aesthetics