The residential development that goes by the name of Ai Salici (“At the Willows”) is situated in the Semine-Saleggi neighbourhood, to the south of Bellinzona. Here cultivated fields once overlooked the Magadino Plain and the River Ticino. Since the 1960s the area has been quickly urbanized but the agricultural fragmentation into long narrow plots is still visible today.
The large expanse of this plot (ca. 4000 m2) has made it possible to exploit the parameters of the neighbourhood planning regulations, which are aimed at fostering a unitary design in formal terms, with a compact and functionally well-organised residential development.
The site on which the four residential blocks stand is divided lengthwise by a wall that makes a distinct separation between the area accessible to motor vehicles on the one hand and the pedestrian area and park on the other. A small yard with a willow tree in the centre is set between each of the blocks.
The whole of the ground floor has a public nature and, apart from the entrances and access to the garden, includes storage rooms, service area and parking spaces that could not be located in an underground floor owing to proximity to the water table.
Each block has 8 apartments of 3.5 or 4.5 rooms, making a total of 32 apartments.
The bedrooms all face north-east, looking towards the city and the castles, while the living area opens out in the corners with large covered balconies overlooking the garden below.
The clients are implementing the building in stages. So far two of the four planned residential blocks have been built.
Photographs: © 2015 Filippo Simonetti