WALLS AND EMPTINESS
Immersed amongst the vineyards and wheat fields, their rows tracing the memories of ancient crops, where space is marked rhythmically by the stakes supporting vine shoots and loses its colourful third dimension at the moment of ploughing time, is the small plot that hosts the nursery school in Covolo. It appears to be the missing piece necessary to complete the small urban centre, whose stable landmarks include the 16th-century church and bell tower, and the Dominican complex of Villa Bellati. A collection of modest structures is linked by a continuous series of stone walls, held intact by a thin layer of rough plaster. These walls, which accompany us for much of the way into the centre of Pederobba defining the boundaries between the network of roads and cultivated fields through¬out the region of the Pedemontana, run adjacent to a meandering mass of vegetation which fills the wide gravely bed of the Piave River.
The new project required an approach that con¬sisted in re-writing the same however-fragile plots that have continued to preserve the mem¬ory of the place, in anticipation of completing new portions of landscape while simultaneously forming mental landscapes in the minds of the children who live there. Walls and empty spaces. The new building forms an enclosure facing south-east, looking over wheat fields and vine¬yards, embracing and allowing itself to be defined by the features of the landscape. A rough concrete wall is coloured to match the surrounding landscape, treated with split aggre¬gate to reflect light in a variable manner depend¬ing on its orientation. The building is its structure: a wall.
A wall which opens to the south like the great arches of the barchesse, the huge porti¬coed barns typical of the region, revealing, at that point, the massive quality of the structure. A wall that retracts and doubles, colouring itself ta emphasize its passages, its thresholds. A wall that forms itself in response to the tensions of that which it encloses. A wall that travels through the complex, smoothing out while continuing ta guide the unfolding of the spaces.
The overhang, the stabi¬lized Sarone gravel paving and the lighting all expand the moment of the threshold, amplifying the classrooms spaces towards the exterior, or bringing the garden, with its sounds and scents, into the school. This operation of extension of the door, this transformation of the threshold into an actual space become the imagination of a possible world, different and strange, sus¬pended between inside and out. It represents hesitation, desire, potential, wonder.
Colour becomes a code: yellow for the youngest children, green for the elder, red as a threshold, blue for the teachers and purple for vertical learning. All colours, as children and teachers, meet together in the central space.
Client: Pederobba municipality
Floor area: 952 m2
Architects, management and art directors: C+S Associati, Carlo Cappai, Maria Alessandra Segantini
Structures and work supervision: Giandomenico Cocco, Tecnobrevetti s.r.l.