Place: Turin, via Gaudenzio Ferrari
Authors: Roberto Gabetti and Aimaro Isola
Chronology: 1953 | 1956
Itinerary: Building houses, making cities
Use: Residential building and shop
With this elegant intervention, the young Roberto Gabetti and Aimaro Isola entered Turin’s delicate historic context with refined sensitivity, just a few steps away from the Mole Antonelliana. This triggered a heated debate in Italian architectural culture on this building’s “Neoliberty” nature and on the alleged break with the “tradition” of the Modern Movement and of Rationalism.
The building, commissioned by bookseller Angelo Barrera on an enclosed, bombarded lot, houses an antique bookshop on the lower floors – basement, sub-basement, mezzanine, first and second – while the upper ones – from the second to the fifth level – house the owner’s residence.
The street facade, punctuated in bands in a very tight and non-modular vertical rhythm, maintains the alignment of the street and the height of the adjacent buildings and incorporates the materials of the urban context – brick, stone – reinterpreting the classic three-part building layout in a stone base, “body” and crown. The external bands of the façade respectively house the Bottega entrance and that of the residence, flanked by the ramp leading to the underground warehouse.
The central part of the façade is covered in exposed brick-faced bands alternating with strips of full height windows with stone parapets.
The building’s ground connection is characterized by a continuous horizontal band in Luserna stone – in which the brick bands are set – interspersed with ziggurat windows that ventilate the sub-basement, protected by an iron grid.