The Cooper Union
School of Architecture


The project called for the structural consolidation of a XVII century tower, damaged in an earthquake (1976) and for its transformation, together with the adjacent two stories smaller structure, in a dwelling for one occupant. The historical nature of the artifact suggested also the maximum reduction and concentration of the interventions.

The architectural exploitation of the structural requirements, the intersection between the structural (the tectonic) and the programmatic (the body), was assumed then as the focus of the design with the intention of creating multifunctional nodal elements functioning simultaneously at different programmatic levels.

On the ground floor, inside the smaller building, the connective structure of the bathtub determined by the under foundations allowed for the articulation of a domestic landscape produced by the "imprint" of the body of the inhabitant: a sleeping area and a bathroom are located here.

Upstairs, a portal-like element in reinforce concrete is inlayed in the wall between the small house and the tower; with its tie-rods it is the stabilizing element of the central wall; the opening produced by the very same tie-rods functioning as a forceps connects the two buildings allowing for the insertion of a stair bridging the difference between the two adjacent floors; the particular solutions to the two approaches to the stair define it as an interior, as a space in itself; the architrave of the portal consists of a composite steel bean tied to the armature of the concrete supporting the ridge beam of the roof of the lower building.

On the top floor a radial element provides to the stability of the oversized, but typical for these type of buildings, roof structure.

Professor, Proportional-Time Faculty