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‘What makes this scheme distinctive is its quiet determination’: Community centre in Italy by Burnazzi Feltrin Architects

Community Centre by Burnazzi Architects

Burnazzi Feltrin’s community centre, shortlisted for the Moira Gemmill Prize for Emerging Architecture 2016

‘I can’t forget to be a woman,’ Elisa Burnazzi told the judging panel when presenting her community centre project. ‘As a mother and partner I see the reality of situations and conditions. Feminine values are very important.’ Burnazzi, of Burnazzi Feltrin Architects, the practice she founded in 2003 with Davide Feltrin (‘united in work and in life’), is driven by a passion for architecture as a creative act. She has earned her place in this shortlist in particular for her work on this striking ‘multi-aged’ centre dedicated to three young victims of the 2009 L’Aquila earthquake.

‘What makes this scheme distinctive, with its wood, green roof, and a path running through it, is its quiet determination’

Community Centre by Burnazzi Architects

Community Centre by Burnazzi Architects

Source: Carlo Baroni

Groundfloorplan jpg

Groundfloorplan jpg

Ground floor plan

The centre in Poggio Picenze is one of very few buildings constructed in a territory still marked by the natural disaster, situated in an urban park – an area which was once used as the earthquake logistic coordination camp. What makes this scheme distinctive, with its wood, green roof, and a path running through it, is its quiet determination.

‘Materials are all important – and the relation between those materials; the balance between opposite materials such as wood and steel, warm and cold’

 

It is an act of community strength – a steering committee of citizens was crucial to its creation. It is also an act of defiance – the path may be a zigzag, referencing destructive forces and rent earth; but the coloured wires support growing vines.  

LAquila Italy by Burnazzi Feltrin Architects

LAquila Italy by Burnazzi Feltrin Architects

Source: Carlo Baroni

Community centre  LAquila  Italy by Burnazzi Feltrin Architects

Community centre LAquila Italy by Burnazzi Feltrin Architects

Source: Carlo Baroni

This subtle screen demonstrates Burnazzi’s focus on materials: ‘Materials are all important – and the relation between those materials; the balance between opposite materials such as wood and steel, warm and cold.’

She is disarmingly open about her approach (‘my ideas come from dreams, or materials, or my clients’) and, for her, drawing is key: ‘I start a project with hand drawings; and so the ideas are simple, and the ideas are linked from brain to paper.’

Community centre LAquila Italy by Burnazzi Feltrin Architects2

Community centre LAquila Italy by Burnazzi Feltrin Architects2

Source: Carlo Baroni

Section jpg

Section jpg

Section

‘As a mother and partner I see the reality of situations and conditions. Feminine values are very important’

Burnazzi’s ethos and values include the expected ‘quality of architecture and urban planning’ and the welcome aim of ‘preserving the landscape and improving the living conditions of citizens’ – but also the quirkier ‘sociability’ and ‘multi-tasking’.

Indeed, Burnazzi puts much store by the social potential of architecture. The practice, with offices in Trento and Rimini, has worked on many residential projects – and there are offices, sports fields and even a winery in the practice portfolio – but it is public buildings that have a special appeal. ‘I hope to build more public buildings because for me a public building is a complete project from the architectural, to the landscape and to the social point of view.’

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