Peter Lorenz. Sottolfaro. Trieste. 2004

Peter Lorenz,


Condos, Housing,

Steel, Glass,

A bold, provocative project which many have failed to understand and therefore rejected: Sottolfaro is a complex of 6 apartments built in Trieste, at the foot of the Victory Lighthouse, an imposing work by Trieste architect Arduino Berlam which also serves as a monument commemorating the fallen in the First World War.

Peter Lorenz. Sottolfaro. Trieste. 2004 Clearly different from the local architecture, playing with asymmetry and juxtaposition of volumes, Sottolfaro is viewed sceptically by many locals who fail to understand it. The building stands on a lot on a hill known as Gretta overlooking the sea, and seems to be hypnotised by the sea view, for once cannot fail to note the vast expanse of water visible from every room.
For this project has two faces designed and built in a totally different way. The face overlooking the gulf is sunny, open and bright; the other side, facing north, has very few openings at all, to shelter the apartments from the wind, which almost always blows from the north here. The complex is hardly visible at all from the main road to the north, for all we can see is the glass structure containing the elevator.
But the building?s two "souls" combine to create a construction with a strong personality and great individualism which truly stands out from its context. Its south-facing glass facades make no concessions to decoration, but are characterised by asymmetry and continuously changing dimensions, as the building takes the form of a series of terraces of different lengths overlooking the sea.
Sottolfaro?s sobriety, clarity and linearity is a contemporary voice in the built landscape of Trieste. Its transparency and linearity play a key role, giving the complex connotations of incredibly light weight. Glass and metal are essential to achieving this result, though cement plays an equally important role and, in the light colour Lorenz has chosen, reflects the colours of the landscape and the local limestone buildings.
Lorenz, an Austrian architect from Innsbruck, has thus created one of Trieste?s few specimens of contemporary architecture, without creating a showy building but speaking the language of elegance and formal rigour.

Laura Della Badia

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