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Sometimes I Just Sit

Our proposal for a neighbourhood medical centre consists of a self-standing, compact form, a perfect cube whose side measures 21m. The elevation consists of two pairs of very different facades, one monumental and one ordinary. The main facades are defined by three circular windows, of which the lower is cut shorter and becomes the main entrance. The ordinary side facades are characterized by uniform fenestration. In this way the building is informed by a strong sense of direction, without compromising its hieratic cubic form. Inspired by Louis Sullivan’s Merchant National Bank in Grinnell, Iowa, the circular window motif is meant to emphasize the public nature of the medical center, without resorting to too unconventional forms. The plan consists of a tripartite layout, in this way the central space becomes the passing hall that gives access to the rows of rooms positioned on the lateral naves. Both the cubic form and the tripartite plan refer to the typological organization of the Byzantine palace, whose influence on North Italian monumental buildings is quite remarkable – think of Venetian palaces or Palladio’s Villas. This typological reference was chosen because of its absolute clarity in terms of distribution. We believe that, given the program, the main quality of this building should be its spatial legibility and immediacy of use.

The passing halls are meant to celebrate the collective nature of care institutions whose presence in the city is the embodiment of welfare. As Peter Haneke has shown in his movie Amour, today illness and health/related problems are often experienced by people in the solitude of their household. For this reason, we believe that, like in medieval hospitals, the core of this small clinic should be a collective space that celebrates public welfare as the main resource of society. Rather than providing a strictly functional architecture, our project proposes a strictly defined form that is flexible in its use. The building is cladded with V-folded aluminium sheets, their joints reinforcing the geometry of the volume. The loadbearing structure is made of cross laminated timber. Because of its even and simple geometry, the building is made of a very limited set of pieces.

Sometimes I Just Sit


Pier Vittorio Aureli and Martino Tattara, with Daniele Ceragno, Dag von der Decken, Fiona Wiesner.