2010 – 2014
Block of flats in Bellinzona

The “Nella” block of flats is on a small lot close to the stream (”La Guasta”) that marks the boundary between Bellinzona and Giubiasco. The design exploits town planning regulations to the full, presenting a building that is developed in height, its volume dictated by the minimum distance from the boundary and by noise factors given its location. The question of noise was of great importance and conditioned the planning from the start since the land is enclosed by the main road (Via Lugano) and the railway main line which is only a few metres away. The building has six storeys: on the ground floor the entrance area looks onto a garden which is slightly sunken compared to the road; the seven flats are on the four upper levels, with apartments of 3½ and 2½ rooms on the first, second and third floor; on the fourth floor there is a 4½ room penthouse. The principle governing the composition of the façades is to give each lived in room an opening shielded from the noise by means of soundproof elements which at the same time characterise the architecture. Different kinds of noise protection were in fact tested. Facing south, the walls and ceiling of the large-windowed balconies are faced with sound-absorbent larch panels that reduce the noise from the road. On the north-facing façade the shielding is by means of sound-absorbent layers of the same wood, which protect the opening of the rooms from the noise emissions of the railway. Here, the rooms themselves are shielded by metal and glass elements applied to the façade, like glass cubes open at the top. The top-floor apartment follows the same pattern, creating two patios ventilated from the roof.

Photographs: © 2014 Marcelo Villada Ortiz