Erculea / San Senatore

The threshold as an architectural theme of the renovation project of two buildings, their common spaces and the void that separates them.

The ordinary and extraordinary maintenance project concerns two adjacent buildings, separated by two driveways, located in the center of Milan, one with entrance from Piazza Erculea 11 and the other from Via San Senatore 2. Both are subject to intervention the common parts and the facades, in addition to the courtyard that separates them; in the second building, consisting of two volumes separated by a courtyard, the connecting shelter between them is renewed.

Access to the building in Piazza Erculea winds through three spaces linked together: the entrance with the staircase, the small atrium, and the space of vertical connections. Starting from the glass wall that divides the first from the next, more profound interventions are needed to lighten the perception of the environments: the glass door is replaced to minimize the size of the window frame, and the stone and marble elements are removed. In the entrance hall and common area of ​​the mezzanine floor some demolitions, including the first flight of stairs leading to the first floor and the central pillar, make the space appear larger and brighter. The materials for the finishes used in the atrium unify the fragmented space, giving a new contemporary image. Outside, the facades are cleaned, with particular care for the historical part.

Also the access to the building in Via San Senatore consists of three linked spaces: the entrance with the short flight of stairs, the horizontal atrium, the two wings for access to stairs and elevators. Spaces tend to get lost in each other, without a clear line of definition, so the project intends to create thresholds that redefine the geometries of the spaces, keeping them at the same time consistent through the use of the same materials. The entrance is treated as an optical cone that, by compressing the space, pushes people to immediately look out into the atrium, passing the glass door. The wooden slat finish of the long front wall indicates the side wings as a natural continuation of the path. Only through the transparent doors can the vertical connection spaces be accessed. The finishes radically change upon entering the atrium: the back wall is completely covered in wooden strips interspersed with a metal structure, a material that recurs in the niches of the room and becomes a support for the mailboxes or a seat for visitors . The facades are in a bad state of preservation so cleaning interventions are planned. In the courtyard, a new metal structure connecting roof connects the main body and the secondary body, and creates space for storing bicycles.

A new fence is then planned, 2.20 m high, which separates and renders independent the inner courtyards of the two buildings.

Erculea / San Senatore