“Private” places par excellence as opposed to Public spaces, to “public squares”, homes have lived through significant transformations in recent years.
A change that has involved the concept of homes rather than considering them as mere buildings.
With obvious consequences from the point of view of the approach to modern architecture to the theme of housing.
This was the central topic at Cersaie, in a newfound debate between the Italian architect Cino Zucchi and Jacob Van Rijs, also an architect and a member of the prestigious Dutch Mvrdv studio.
Professor Fulvio Irace, architect and a teacher at Polidesign- the consortium of the Milan Polytechnic institute established to provide innovative design solutions and proposals within a constantly evolving technological, production and professional context- moderated the debate, offering a further contribution to the discussion.
The “Social housing: micro and macro” meeting was held yesterday, Wednesday 29 October in the Architecture Gallery.
The meeting saw the clash of two world views, two ways of thinking for the latest big housing frontier – social housing. In social housing the dogma of private places is totally separated from that of public places; the private sphere contrasts the public sphere, reverting to that famous metaphor of Habermasian memory. This sphere is more faded and, in the last resort, obsolete.
On one side was Van Rijs– co-founder of the Mvrdv studio and creator of magnificent works in the Netherlands and Spain, as well as imposing residential complexes India and South Korea–has illustrated his high density approach, which is able on the one hand, to restore the traditional types of housing, in a relationship with past and a tradition that has never been denied or put in second place. On the other hand, a “vision” allowing Rijs to offer cutting-edge solutions in densely-populated areas, thus reducing soil consumption to a minimum.
In complete contrast, as is typical of great masters, there is Zucchi’s position.
Zucchi is an architectural and urban design teacher, designer of residential, commercial and industrial buildings, offices, museums and public spaces. He set apart also thanks to his talent for putting black on white, the master plan for restoring industrial and historic areas.
A living concept based on the idea of medium/low density, starting with the evidence for which immense constructions, now and even more in the future, benefit from being valued, retrained and redirected towards new uses that are more in line with modern lifestyles.
“Italians, in particular,” said Zucchi “are still affectionate about cities. These are the places that they still prefer and choose to live in, both for the facilities and the size of the areas that they offer and for the structures that they represent”.
A meeting point between these two “visions” is social housing and co-housing, the latter being the best declination of the former.
Co-housing is already very widespread throughout Northern Europe and is thoroughly redesigning the concept of living, increasing spaces and communal facilities considerably: not just porticos and courts but real portions of buildings that become the centre of the house for “cohousers”, from facilities to party spaces or places dedicated to hobbies, games rooms for children and bedrooms for guests, even the kitchen.
An innovative concept that follows significant social transformations, from the way families are conceived to the renewed attention to environmental sustainability. Economic advantages that inevitably derive from sharing spaces and facilities are also considered.
Even social buildings – created to meet housing needs for the most disadvantaged section of the population – are transformed into “sociable” buildings.
Among the various approaches and prospects, one certainty remains: in a world in which our homes are different to how they were in the past, in a world in which, for example, those who travel for work and holidays, students but also those who want to start a family can choose new “sociable houses”. There will always be more and more need for architecture, for housing professionals able to tackle these new demands and therefore offer concrete solutions in line with the expectation.