Serpent - road
A meeting place, a place to relate and play
When you enter the neighbourhood
a snake eats up the cars.
The cars disappear and reappear in the garage.
The cars slowly enter the snake’s belly
and proceed in silence, giving way to other functions
of greater importance and priority.
In the neighbourhood cars are no longer fast
and dangerous mechanical tools;
they especially do not have right of way.
The rhythm is slow because it is not dictated by cars,
but by our senses. You walk on pathways bedecked
with strange figures or old games.
Roads become meeting places once more;
places where people relate, where children play.
We walk at ground level, following sinuous paths
which move in harmony with the places they pass.
Lamp - post birds
This is actually a normal lamp-post,
an end of which has been specially bent over.
The curvature is supposed to give the idea
of a bird resting on a branch.
The lamp transforms into a bird with open wings,
as if it were about to take flight;
the light shines out of the bird’s middle,
while the wings, the tail and the beak are the work
of craftsmen shaping the outside of the lamp.
Hills - garages
A privileged look-out and play post
The cars are buried under a mountain of earth.
This creates two hills that can be played on!
The variety of the countryside becomes something
precious, a new opportunity.
On one hill, various essences will mean that the senses
will be exalted: taste, smell, touch.
On the other hill, plants will signal the changing
of the seasons, making a calendar of colours.
The hills will reduce the covered surface and increase
the environmental quality of the neighbourhood.
Cavern - playroom
row of garages places with many identities
From the “meadow of the laughing monsters”, you pass through the open maw of the monsters to enter two gigantic cellars.
They are mysterious places hidden below the hills; they are strangely illuminated by lights entering from the mouths, that come down from above and plot designs on the floors.
These are the broadened garage lanes.
Usually the garage is a place that has difficulty being what can truly be termed a place.
It has a strange and often nocturnal identity (it is inhabited by night, by cars).
It lives when outside it is cold, rainy, wet. It can be made to live during the day too, it can be invested with other identities and meanings and thus be transformed into a place, where you can run, play, a place of noise and sound. A strange open and covered playroom.
The meadow of the laughing monsters
This is a magic place where big monsters
with wide-open laughing maws live.
They are good monsters, they’re okay.
They look after people’s cars in their bellies,
and smile at the world to make it jollier.
The whole area is surrounded by a circle
of field maples which make the place more intimate.
It’s a playful place to meet your friends between two hills.
It’s a low place between two high places,
an empty space between two full spaces.
It’s a meadow between two caverns,
a light place between two dark places.
The courtyard of the great oak
a reference point
The central courtyard of the neighbourhood
which all the houses look onto will be graced
by the presence of a great oak.
The oak is the biggest and most powerful tree
in our places; it is a safe and sure reference point,
enduring through the passing of time. It is a natural hub
for the neighbourhood’s life to revolve around.
So it has been placed
where lots of paths meet,
where its pulse will be most felt.
To reinforce its symbolic role
it will be provided
with benches and furniture;
its use as a meeting place will be encouraged.
Playful flights of stairs
Inside these houses even going up and down from one floor to another is a game that can be played in different ways: the staircases have a slide and the lift has strange magic mirrors inside it.
not just white
The houses are not in a row
and do not have a front and a back.
They are all different, of many colours, like confetti.
And like confetti they bring jolliness and enthusiasm.
The walls, the spaces, the objects go together
with the ideas and give visual and tactile emotion.
The materials change, the colours, the designs,
and every step is a discovery.
The houses are decorated with fantastic drawings.
A place where things that aren’t so now can become so
We gave a new space to each house: the Atelier.
The atelier is a concentration of kids’ wishes.
An unusual place: transparent, magic, playful, big, intimate… It’s strange for its situation, its shape, size, its materials. It can be in the sky, on the ground, by the side, above, below…
It’s a workshop, a place where you can reflect together on intuitions, concepts, theories. Some of them still not fully formed, but all seeking interaction where the unexpressed can find a way to be communicated.
In a house it is the place where magic can be concocted, where ideas can dwell, for the process of creation – my here and now creation can be nurtured and can survive here.
This is the place that legitimises the community;
from the individual space (the house belonging
to each family) to the space belonging to everyone,
which requires the participation of everyone in order
to exist (order, cleaning, calendar of activities).
It’s the – indoor – neighbourhood square.
It’s like the porticos of a mediaeval town centre,
but it can also become like a parlour of the old days,
where people met to make jams, conserves,
where parties were held, where a quick hello could
become a long conversation, a chat, an exchange…
Where being together becomes convivial.
There are apartments inside the tower.
There is also a lovely staircase with a slide.
The tower is great because you can see it
from a distance so people know
where our neighbourhood is and they don’t get lost.
Then on the tower there is a structure
with iron bars and wires that are a trap
for baddies and lightning.
The flower house
A talented painter helped us design all the houses.
This house features all the most beautiful flowers:
they look like daisies and tulips…
but maybe they are just invented flowers.
I would be nice to have some new flowers,
too, like the song-stem (a flower that sings)
or the red-petal (a friend of robin red-breast)…
The house with the studio over the lane
This house has a studio over the passageway;
this way when you play
you can see who comes and goes.
You can also play with the people coming and going;
you can toss down little paper balls
or airplanes… or just chat.
You can find out all the latest news
about what’s going on and put out
a neighborhood newspaper:
“The Lane Gazette”.
When you’ve grown up you can be a journalist!
The house with the studio on the top
The studio is a very strange and magical room,
the likes of which other house don’t offer.
In this room you can do all sorts of things
that are not allowed elsewhere.
Often these things are the most fun: coloring,
playing ballerina, playing with toys
and games then leaving them out…
In this house the studio is at the top,
complete with big windows
and a strange hat that looks like a baby’s bonnet.
The castle house
Wicked people don’t come into the house.
First of all, because it’s a castle
and they are afraid and, then,
because there’s a strong iron gate at the door
and if they push on it they can hurt themselves.
It’s nice to live in a castle, even just a small one,
because it’s got lots of strange shapes
and you can pretend to be a prince
with a king and queen for parents.
But, sometimes there are little princesses
who are real pests.
The barn house
This house has high arches like grandfather’s hay barn.
It’s fun to watch the world from inside the barn;
it’s like there’s a big frame around everything.
But there aren’t any cows or hay now,
otherwise there would be a terrible odor!
There are lots of windows in this house
to look out of all the time.
The house with the roof held up by trees
This house is a little odd
with its overhanging room
held up by steel trees.
They aren’t real trees, of course,
but they are very nice just the same.
The oversize roof extends out far enough
to project us and keep us dry when we go inside.
It also covers the big design
that is underneath it and greets all the people
who come into the neighborhood.
The house with the giant arch
This house has an arched opening so big
that from the living room you look out
into the entire garden.
When you’re inside the house it’s like being
under a portico, under a bridge… or under…
At the top of the giant arch there’s the keystone
which is there to make sure it stays closed
and doesn’t fall down.
The transparent house
Instead of walls this house just has lots of big windows.
This way you can see a long way off,
watching everything you want to.
The sun, the moon, the stars, the flowers, the trees,
the birds and the cats that sneak around everywhere.
When it rains you can still look out
and watch the lightning that is very scary,
because there’s a big porch.
And when it snows you can see all the white magic.
The house with the precious stones
This house contains
all sorts of precious stones,
so it is very beautiful.
All the colors and shiny
stones also make it happier.
And when the sun shines
they really sparkle.
Maybe this is the most
because at the top there
is a fabulous attic.
The house with the roof loggia
The roof loggia is very high up
and to get there you have to go up
a very long stairs that wind like a snake.
From up there you can see lots of things
and also very far into the distance.
And if you look down things look smaller.
The roof comes to a point and on top there is a flag
that shows which way the wind is blowing.
Because it changes direction all the time.