Surrounded by grand historic residences and large green spaces, the ‘Palazzo Arbà’ by the architects Federico Nardelli and Maurizio Maggiali is a new residential building that blends harmoniously into the existing urban context of Genoa, Italy.
Blending in with a Genoese Neighbourhood
Located in the elegant and upscale seaside neighbourhood of Albaro with sweeping views of the Ligurian Sea, the building site was formerly part of an adjacent convent run by the Good Shepherd Institute, which housed women in need. After being closed for many years, the building was acquired by real estate company Trident RE, ed with the intention of renovating the existing structure. Unfortunately, logistical challenges ultimately made renovation untenable and instead dictated a complete reconstruction project and subsequently an entirely new residential building. Despite its new build fabric, the style of Palazzo Arbà’s architecture refers to that of the typical 1960’s era residences in the surrounding area, yet it reinterprets this aesthetic in a contemporary fashion.
Indoor to Outdoor Living as Key Concept
The key architectural concept of the project is the seamless connection between large outdoor spaces and the interior living rooms. The core feature of the design are the large glazed sliding doors that allow the living rooms to extend to outside terraces and loggias, thus allowing residents to take year round advantage of the favourable Genoese climate and create a unique and extended living area. To further increase functionality, dark green brise soleil elements installed onto the façade filter light and air into the terraces to create interior spaces that are open and breezy, yet also intimate and private. Inside, flexible apartment floor plans allow residents to create customised solutions for maximum comfort.
To realise the concept of seamless indoor and outdoor connection, large doors and windows were essential. Architect Federico Nardelli chose slender aluminium frames over traditional wooden ones to ensure they would stand up to exposure to salt air. In addition, aluminium is a high quality and technologically advanced material that adds to the value perception of the building, being an exclusive and upscale residential development.
Windows Form the House
A Reynaers Aluminium solution was ideal for the architects to achieve the effect they desired. Nardelli explains: ‘We chose Reynaers Aluminium systems because they perfectly meet the stylistic requirements of the project – above all, the new sliding system SlimPatio 68. Thanks to the slender profiles, we were able to perfectly achieve the maximum transparency and the perfect union between inside and outside. Consequently, we also chose Reynaers Aluminium CS 77-HV solutions for the balcony doors installed in the kitchen and bedrooms.’
In addition to its appropriateness to the climate, aluminium is also a low maintenance material, so Nardelli also chose it for the brise soleil elements. These elements were initially designed in wood, but after aluminium proved to be the more durable material, the brise soleils were coated with a dark green wood effect finish to reflect the traditional style of Genoese shutters common to the neighbourhood.
Focusing the design around a seamless interaction between outdoor and indoor spaces, the Palazzo Arbà reimagines the traditional Italian seaside villa into a unique, fresh residential lifestyle concept. Nardelli & Maggiali noted that more and more often in contemporary architecture, glass (both doors and windows) are becoming larger features than walls, and given the location of the project they chose to embrace this trend. ‘On an architectural level, the windows definitely form the house,’ says Nardelli.