Variation of modes of use: functions, users, schedules, etc.

Relationship between the ownership and the form of the investment that allows the transformation

Variation of the overall dimensions of the building

Proportional relationship between new spaces and existing spaces

Relationship between the structural adjustments and the existing structure

Relationship between the forms and types of pre-existing materials and those of the new intervention

Relationship between the image of the new and the image of the existing (mimesis / contrast)


Via Pavia n.56 e n.58, Mazzarrone, Italy [37°04'56.1"N 14°33'27.8"E]


Maria Giuseppina Grasso Cannizzo



Maria Giuseppina Grasso Cannizzo – Intervention on the ordinary

PROJECT - Main Infos

PROJECT: Maria Giuseppina Grasso Cannizzo – Intervention on the ordinary

LOCATION: Via Pavia n.56 e n.58, Mazzarrone, Italy [37°04'56.1"N 14°33'27.8"E]

YEAR: 2018

ARCHITECT / FIRM: Maria Giuseppina Grasso Cannizzo

BUYER: Luisa Cassisi

SURFACE: Preexistence 508.51 sqm, project completed 497.59 sqm

PRICE: € 500.000

Site: A two-storey building surrounded by a garden and built by an unknown author in the 1960s along the borderline between the built-up area and the surrounding countryside. A long and wide space, positioned at the highest level, crossing the entire building welcomes, establishes and organizes the relations between the rooms; the shortest sides open on one side towards the entrance and on the other towards a common external area. On the right, on one of the long sides, there are the classrooms, on the left the services and the access gates to the staircase: two opposite ramps lead to the lower level opening onto the space for meals and games and through large glass surfaces on the valley and the garden. On the blind sides there are technical and service areas. From all the spaces, at different altitudes, you can reach the garden. The garden area is interrupted by walkways and footpaths: the hierarchy of paths is underlined by the use of different materials. Stairs of different nature and size connect different heights. Construction features of the existing: solid brick walls, two pillars and two reinforced concrete beams supporting the roof of the refectory, laterally-cement floors, aluminium fixtures, corrugated eternit slabs as cladding for the masonry in correspondence with the windowed walls, corrugated sheet metal roofing. The building, abandoned for more than twenty years, was in a poor state of preservation but no problems were found. Objective of the intervention: the building, which originally housed a private kindergarten, is purchased by the client to build the house for his family of six people and an elderly parent to ensure autonomy and participation in community life. Strategy: When the practical reason that determined it is missing, the work, in order to avoid the imminent end, is often available to welcome other possible lives. Once the willingness of the existing to accept a new occupation has been verified, the transformation intervention renounces to come out of the open and sets itself the objective of making the found object habitable, preserving its original geometry and spatiality, exploiting its peculiarities and reactivating interrupted spatial relations.

WHAT - Program

TOTAL REPLACEMENT / DISCONTINUITY: The new functional program has completely replaced the original one.

Objectives of the restoration work: -Improve energy efficiency by providing for the replacement of windows and doors and insulating flat surfaces -Remove harmful materials by replacing them with equivalent materials -Repairing masonry -Recover materials by integrating missing parts. -Project of temporary structures Occupation: Assign new roles to found spaces. Three volumes of new function containers are produced in the workshop. The temporary structures, suitably positioned in the found spaces, break up without destroying the original spatiality, produce variations in the distribution of surfaces, functions and roles, multiply the views, but are ready to leave the occupied surface to give way to new luggage and to proceed with the preparation of other scenes. The long and wide space, positioned at the highest level, while maintaining the original role of the route hosts a series of activities becoming a space inhabited and shared by the family. The classrooms become spaces to ensure intimacy. The refectory, maintaining its role as a common space, becomes the place where the relationship between the family and the community develops.

WHO - Financing

TOTAL REPLACEMENT / DISCONTINUITY: Financing made entirely by an investor other than property.

The new owner of the property is the only investor.

HOW MUCH - Absolute Dimensions


TOTAL CONSERVATION / CONTINUITY: The overall dimensions are equal to the pre-existing surface.


TOTAL CONSERVATION / CONTINUITY: The overall dimensions are equal to the pre-existing volume.

The size of the building is reduced by the removal of a superfetation: a canopy above the entrance to the ground floor.

HOW MUCH - Relative Dimensions

PREVALENT REPLACEMENT / DISCONTINUITY: The new spaces are prevalent with respect to the pre-existing spaces.

The introduction of temporary equipment alters the configuration and use of the spaces found and consequently the dimensions.

HOW - Design Strategy STRUCTURE

TOTAL CONSERVATION / CONTINUITY: The original supporting structure is fully preserved and there are no new structures.

The supporting structure is not subject to intervention.

HOW - Design Strategy MATERIAL

BALANCE BETWEEN CONSERVATION AND REPLACEMENT: The materials chosen for the new intervention balance similarities and differences with the existing ones.

For the floors are proposed grit tiles similar to the floors removed for the formation of the under-floor cavity and for the construction of a radiant floor. The eternit cladding above the lintels is replaced by fibre cement slabs. The fixtures, made of thermally broken steel profiles, re-propose a new scan inspired by the removed aluminium fixtures. Despite the fact that the sloping roofs were made with a double floor and an interposed cavity, an additional ventilated roof and a cladding with pre-painted aluminium panels were superimposed. The equipment was made with a structure made of galvanized iron profiles, the cladding panels are partly made of galvanised sheet metal, partly multilayer okoumé.

HOW - Design Strategy IMAGE

BALANCE BETWEEN CONSERVATION AND REPLACEMENT: The new intervention balances elements of continuity and discontinuity with respect to existing structures.

Only the presence of temporary equipment on the scene denounces the intervention and announces the arrival of the actors: equipment designed as luggage, carry the bare essentials to meet the need for a new life.