Valerio Falconi

Valerio Falconi


The Artisan's Home

In our time, professions are passed on form father to child less and less, and some professions related to craftsmanship are disappearing, being replaced by industrial production. I come from a family of wooden artisan, and I witness what happened to my grandfather when he could not work anymore: deprived of his own role, he became lonely and restless. For him, as for many other artisans of his generation, his profession was not a mere job, it was his life.

In the frenetic society focused on production we live in, there is no space or time for senior citizens. People who are too old to work end up being placed at the edge of society, often confined in homes that basically are “waiting for death” buildings. This is not only unethical, but also non efficient—if we look at senior citizens nowadays, we realize they have experience, money, network. They don’t have ambitions, which means that everything they do, they do it out of passion,love and in the interest of future generations.

This confinement of senior citizens at the edge of society is not only bad for them, but also for other categories of people that, in the past, would have benefit from their presence. That’s why I designed a building where senior citizens could be integrated in young people’s life once again: a building where they could feel needed, where they could pass on their skills, take care of their grandchildren and be assisted when it’s necessary. A housing building with special collective spaces and public facilities.

The proposal envisions a new type of housing building in the Houthaven, a district in Amsterdam traditionally connected to wood. A series of stacks volumes create a lively and dynamic atmosphere and an array of different spatial experiences. Within the different layers of privacy associated with the different functions, the design encourages interaction and exchange. The spaces are all interrelated, allowing residents and visitors to be always visually connected to different parts of the building, to feel part of a community. A central void brings light to the different volumes and ensures this vertical connection. The ground floor workshop design, with its elaborate wooden structure, highlights the central role of the program in the building, evokes craftsmanship and achieves the optimal light conditions to work.

The Artisan’s Home is designed to be a place where elderly are involved in young ones’ lives again, a place where a more responsible society could be born.

Graduation committee: Laurens Jan Ten Kade (mentor), Ira Koers, Jochem Heinsmans.

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