Programma Innovativo Nazionale per la Qualità dell'Abitare

The “National Innovative Program for Housing Quality” is an on-going state plan to support the renewal of public social-housing assets throughout Italy. We developed a proposal for a series of sites among the many which constitutes the estate properties of the municipalities located along the river Reno and river Setta valleys, both branching off from Bologna to the Emilian Apennines.

The Union of the Mountain Municipalities of Bologna Apennines is a local authority constituted in 2013 by the towns of Camugnano, Castel d’Aiano, Castel di Casio, Castiglione dei Pepoli, Gaggio Montano, Grizzana Morandi, Lizzano in Belvedere, Marzabotto, Monzuno, San Benedetto Val di Sambro and Vergato.

Riola, Vergato | Social Housing ERS close to the International Study Center Alvar Aalto

The renovation of the social housing units situated next to the new “Centro Studi Alvar Aalto” are an experimental solution for low-income apartments, that develops from the existing linear block. Instead of the former two-storey houses, our proposal divides each one into two single-storey flats, with new entrances to upper apartments solved by a new steel walkway. The space previously occupied by internal private stairs becomes winter gardens at ground level, which solve the lighting problem typical of some inline houses. Our concept, intended mainly for young couples, promotes the common use of open-air spaces, giving up a certain amount of privacy in exchange for social cohesion.

Riola, Vergato and Ponte, Grizzana Morandi | Pedestrian Bridge over the River Reno

For the town of Riola-Ponte we envision a new bridge that connects the train station with the access patio of the well-known church by Finnish architect Alvar Aalto, built in 1966. The touristic potential of the area is now restricted by the uncomfortable walk that connects the two sides of Reno River, in the form of a narrow walkway adjacent to the street on the old bridge. Despite the idea of the municipality of enlarging the current passage with a cantilevered structure aside the bridge, we propose a new foot bridge situated between the train station and the rear end of the church. This part of the building, that often goes unnoticed, is as refined and interesting as the main façade, and a bridge landing there would create a new path to the entrance. The new experience would make visitors slowly discover the architectural masterpiece, from the rear side to the front square, to the façade and then to the inside. The bridge would be a single-span cable-stayed structure made of steel, and would be very well integrated with the modern style of the church.

Camugnano | Fontana Apartments

Vergato | Ex-Train Warehouse

The small Train Warehouse in the town of Vergato has now been abandoned for many years. Its central location in the urban landscape brought in a renewed interest in its reconversion into a new public space for the community. The idea of the administration was to create a social hub for youngsters, which are now lacking spaces for encounters and opportunities for interactions. The project then includes a requalification of both the building and the area around it, creating a new skatepark for outdoor activities.

America-Europa, Grizzana Morandi | Social Housing America

Castiglione dei Pepoli | Ex-Fire Station

The reconversion of the first floor of the Ex-Fire Station into a small music school, which will host a radio station, is one of the most interesting social projects of the entire plan. The fundamental is to improve the quality of living not just within house walls, but also by creating new spaces for human aggregation. Particularly this intervention, consider a few demolitions in the partition walls of an existing building to assure a practical solution, within the required acoustic standards and needed room capabilities.

Berzantina, Castel Di Casio | Social Housing

These residential units situated in Berzantina constitute the only new building in the whole Housing Program and consist of a three-storey terraced block leaning against a steep slope. The construction uses cross-laminated timber slabs, which are legible in the floor plans by the means of structural walls and boxes. Each level of the building, going up from the garage basement to the residential levels, moves aside approaching the hillside so that the overall visible mass is reduced and insulation benefits are granted due to the dug-out volume. The arising problem was then granting an optimal lighting quality to the internal spaces, since two-thirds of the residential floors have a grounded wall towards the mountain, and this is solved with a variety of solutions. Firstly, the overall volume is made of terraced storeys that step back at each floor to keep an adequate thickness of the building volume, so that sunlight can easily reach deeper into living spaces. In addition, many terraced decks are carved into the building volume, in order to increase the amount of perimetral transparent envelope. Finally, a lightwell is dug inside the floorplan for the last two floors, giving light and air to otherwise blind rooms. The green balconies designed for the main façade create a new terraced hillside in which housing spaces are hidden by greenery, which is ideal in an overly-built residential area.

Monzuno | Trekkers House along Via degli Dei

The new hikers’ lodge on the Via degli Dei is a two-storey cabin that will serve as a resting point for the travelers on foot along the renowned trail. The building will have timber structure and an excellent insulation, and will provide accommodation and key services to the visitors. At ground floor will be placed a reception area, a canteen, a dormitory with bunk beds, toilets and a washroom. At first floor will be placed a single-room home for people in need from the near town of Monzuno. The project will also integrate open-air social spaces with furniture, solar panels and a charging point for e-bikes.

Unione dei Comuni dell’Appennino Bolognese, Città Metropolitana di Bologna

Tuscan-Emilian Apennines, Italy


Urban regeneration, Residential


Arch. Erica PÈ (Project coordinator), Andrea LUI