Melfi Srl is a construction company representing one of the oldest families in the Italian industrial region of Pettoranello. Their new office building is a symbol of the construction and design quality they stand for, featuring a double-height atrium void with light from above. The concrete framed building used simple building technologies to avoid skill polarization of the local labour market and created a rhythmic solution of orthogonal spaces using a standard 6m grid (versatile and refitable). The exterior wall components (e.g. metal panels, sandstone) are connected using dry connections (screws) and are easily changed if necessary. In addition, the client requested a building which could be architecturally adapted to other uses. Floor loadings have been over-designed to allow for future uses to be accommodated and potential shifts in Italian code laws as well. The building is positioned on the site with consideration to allow for a future horizontal extension (double the volume).
In the six years the building has been in use, several rooms have changed uses (e.g. laboratory to flexible meeting space) and have been joined together by the removal of drywall partitions and doors to support the changing needs of the occupants. The movable wall units and the continuity of floor coverings add to the versatility of the spaces. A legible circulation system makes orientation easy, as well as enhances visual-spatial relationships between the interior and exterior spaces. The lobby is a good example of a large ‘circulation’ space which can be used for events and/ or temporary exhibitions given its large size and natural daylight. The adjacent shed (prefabricated concrete) is currently used for storage, but could be adapted to a variety of uses given its scale, spatial and structural capacity.
Images courtesy of Alberto Muciaccia
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