Siracusa, Italy, 2010
principals: Andrea Di Stefano, Aleksandra Jaeschke
design team: Salvo Pappalardo, Rossella Pisano
renderings: Massimo D'Aiello
engineering: Daniele Catania
Qasba is a suburban dwelling for two families inspired by the Arabic urban fortresses. The system of rectangular volumes aggregated into a tight grid-based organization provides the maximum volume allowed by the local building code. A chequerboard-like alternation of volumes and voids provides a high level of privacy in this densely-built area and helps mitigate the impact of Sicilian sun shading and inducing ventilation. Hidden courtyards and patios assume domestic functions extending the limited living space outdoors. Each of the volumes hosts a functionally-independent unit and connects directly with the contiguous one to eliminate corridor spaces. The volumes positioned at varying levels create a continuous topography that freely flows across indoor and outdoor rooms and continue on top of the buildings creating an extended garden.