The goal of architect Alex Romano’s project proposal is to achieve a new architectural expression by offering Mendrisio a new lexicon of visual and technical codes that translate into “artificial nature.” It also aims to establish a balanced connection between artifice and nature.

Project Name: Ammar Building
Studio Name: Alex Romano Architect
Location: Switzerland

Ammar Building By Alex Romano Architect - Sheet2
©Alex Romano Architect

The project has been developed in one of Mendrisio’s most important urban spaces, at the junction between Via Stefano Franscini and Via Beroldingen, an intersection between the railway station, commercial district, suburban connections, and city center.

Precisely because of its strategic position close to the historic center, which sees it as the gateway to the old town, the project aims to be both an experiment in a new architectural language in harmony with the context, and a highly attractive place to be experienced in every aspect by public and private users.

Ammar Building By Alex Romano Architect - Sheet3
©Alex Romano Architect

The project concept involves the rotation of two building blocks along the adjacent streets, block 1 along Via Franscini and block 2 along Via Beroldingen. The commercial spaces in the lower level of each block and the adjoining green areas encourage meetups and create opportunities for new relationships, allowing the community to be an integral part of the project, thus promoting the redevelopment of the urban fabric.

Above all, greenery in all its aspects (chromatic, natural, and sustainable), puts the architectural project at the center, reducing the impact of construction on the existing building. This also has a positive impact at the urban level by becoming a pleasant and welcoming experience for its inhabitants.

Vegetation of facades and roofs contributes to local biodiversity. Vegetating buildings also improve thermal insulation and air quality.

In the planned green areas, the leisure area inside the two blocks is protected from external noise and traffic. In the public area near the shopping areas and the area for car parks, autochthonous trees will be planted to help preserve biodiversity and ornamental plants.

The goal of the project proposal is to achieve a new architectural expression by offering Mendrisio a fresh lexicon of visual and technical codes that translate into “artificial nature.” It also aims to establish a balanced connection between artifice and nature.

Ammar Building By Alex Romano Architect - Sheet4
©Alex Romano Architect

The building is characterized by two blocks staggered by about 3m which follow the orography of the land. Each of 5 levels above ground with the commercial activities on the first level and the residences on the upper floors.

Commercial uses include functions that guarantee conviviality, meeting places such as bars, ice cream shops, restaurants and sustainable activities designed to allow inhabitants to appropriate spaces according to their needs as well as think about the future by favoring flexible and evolving arrangements. This includes the provision of meeting areas and public spaces adapted to the needs of both young and old, the organization of community activities to strengthen the identity and sense of belonging, as well as the creation of bars, shops and/or neighborhood services.

The innovative facade cladding system is composed of green vertical slats of different colors, with different inclinations to create visual dynamism and a light/dark effect in relation to the movement of the sun. These elements will also function as sound barriers and guarantee visual permeability from the inside to the outside and internal privacy.

The chromatic impact is interrupted horizontally by metal stringcourses that mark out the two blocks, marking a strong formal dynamism and fluidity linked to the concept of movement, recalling the tracks of the adjacent railway in their continuous, soft lines.

The basement and semi-basement floors are used for cellars, storage areas and garages.

Vehicular access is from Via Beroldingen, at block 2 on the eastern side, from which the underground garage and the external parking spaces pertaining to the commercial spaces can be accessed. On the garage level there are also technical rooms for the heating and electrical system.

Pedestrian access to the two blocks is from the central gallery on the ground floor, which leads to the staircase of each block.

©Alex Romano Architect

On the levels above the commercial spaces, 16 apartments are planned, 8 for each block, with large terraces that circumscribe the entire architectural perimeter, conferring great formal and visual dynamism.

The roof of block 1, which borders Via Franscini, will have a communal terrace while block 2 will have a terrace equipped for the installation of solar panels and various systems.

The building is considered a “single system”, i.e., built coherently with the whole building, plant, and envelope components through adequate insulation to meet the requirements of the Minergie-P standard. The building will be environmentally friendly and will be equipped with innovative technologies that optimize energy efficiency, construction quality and the use of renewable energy.


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