Row houses in Bargone, Casarza Ligure, Genoa


Client: Bargone cooperativa r.l.
Chronology: Masterplan: 1983 - Design: 1987-1988 - Realization: 1989 - 1991

Architectural design: Mario Gallarati
Works manager: Mario Gallarati
Contractor: Nuova Edilizia s.n.c

The area of the intervention is the extension of the old centre of Bargone, on the edge of the secondary ridge which, after crossing lengthwise the whole inhabited nucleus, continues as the axis of the agricultural farm tissue.
The choice of the place, previously made by the town planners, was oriented to the consolidation of the housing function of the old nucleus which in the years had suffered a progressive desertion.
But the choice was also based on the firm belief that the realization of a new settlement directly connected to the old centre would be the first step towards its revival as a whole and a stop to the exodus of the younger families towards the main centres at the bottom of the valley (Casarza) and on the coast (Sestri Levante).
After the intervention the old centre is now in a barycentric position between the zone with buildings dating back to the ‘60s to the north, and the new settlements of social housing to the south, so that it has recovered its original function as a pole for the whole valley, organized around the church square, again at the centre of the inhabited district.
The choice for this projects, very different from the one which directed in the Seventies the extension of the village on the north side with the import of “city” building models, has been oriented from the very beginning so as recover the elements typical of the local buildings, in order to favour a correct linguistic and environmental insertion and the reinforcement of the unitary image of the settled nucleus.
In the first place, we have tried to create anew a street as a unifying space axis of a building organism made of a number of buildings of analogous typology: this central axis, prosecution of the main route of the old centre, is therefore defined by two continuous building walls, and from it draw their (pedestrian) access all the houses.
Secondly, we have identified the main typological reference in the tissue of multifamily farm courts, with the function of terraces by now, of the houses of the “carrugio”: the intervention, as a consequence, consists in the aggregation of sixteen monofamily terrace elements in four terraced houses, so forming the natural completion of the building tissue of the old centre. Oriented in the same way is also the research of the most expedient structural span marking the succession, in alternated rhythm, of cells and half-cells, destined, the first ones, to contain the main functions of the single houses and, the second ones, the functions of distribution and service.
If on one hand the unitary character of the intervention and the homogeneity of the walls are due to the choice of a single building type, the latter consists of a basic-type, common to the twelve houses of the three terraces on the eastern side of the route, and a variant-type for the four lodgings of the terraced house on the western side, corresponding to the variation in level due to the pre-existing “cultivation in terraces”. The faces on the common space - the central axis of the plant – are equal for all the terrace elements; what varies is the organization of the interior distribution and its connection with the pertinent area at the back, as wells as the aggregation of the four elements of the house nearest to the town, set at different heights to conform to the slope of the ground.
Finally, in an attempt to put the new intervention in a correct connexion with the linguistic and environmental characters of the old nucleus also in a more specifically architectural profile, the choice of the structure characters (unintermitted walling, two pitched roofs and so on) and some finishing elements (sandstone plastering, Genoese shutters, slate covering) refer to the buildings characters of the old centre, and even the galleries of access to the loggings keep the memory of the archways marking the crosswise passages leading from the “carrugio” to the inner courts.