The most beautiful house in the world
„The number 6“ is the name of the restyling project for Palazzo Valperga Galleani, a jewel of Piedmont Baroque architecture. The world-famous website ArchDaily (7 million visits a months and 2 million Facebook fans) has accorded it the title of „the most beautiful house in the world“, chosen from no fewer than 3,000 submissions from all over the world. The only Italian entry, it overcame stiff competition from the other five finalists in the Restyling category.
Located close to Piazza San Carlo, the building is a jewel of Turin Baroque architecture. Built in 1663 by Maurizio Valperga and extended in 1781 by Michele Luigi Barberis, it maintained its vocation as a prestigious noble residence over the centuries but gradually began to show signs of decay. That all changed in 2013 when architect Luca Petrone, head of design at the Turin-based firm Building Engineering, was commissioned to renovate the building. The Baroque edifice was consequently converted into a state-of-the-art contemporary apartment building and restored to its former glory.
Covering a 6,500-square-metre space on 5 levels plus two mezzanine floors, the project is an outstanding example of architectural restoration. Significantly, it succeeded in adapting historic spaces protected by the Piedmont region’s Architectural and Cultural Heritage Office to the new demands of contemporary living. Consequently, original decorative elements such as frescoes, stuccoes, mouldings and bas-reliefs rub shoulders with modern-day materials; exposed concrete, glass, resin and hi-tech ceramics stand side by side with the stylistic and aesthetic choices of the past. In keeping with this vision, porcelain tiles have been chosen for the common areas, corridors and stairs (the Marmi e Pietre Via Condotti collection from the Elegance series by Cotto d’Este) and for the floor coverings in the apartments and bathrooms (Materia e Colore collection from the Kerlite Black-White series, also by Cotto d’Este).
The success of the project stems from this splendid juxtaposition of tradition and modernity. After rationalising the volumes and redefining the spaces, the building now houses no fewer than 36 apartments arranged around the central courtyard, along with a garage for each apartment and a modern Beauty & Spa centre for use by residents. But the truly revolutionary aspect of the project is the fact that the building is also open to the public. The client wanted to create a visually-appealing, artistic architectural space that could be used by the local community. With this in mind, sculptural elements created by artist Richi Ferrero for the last two editions of the „Rassegna Luci d’Artista“ festival have been installed permanently in the building’s Baroque courtyard to create a kind of open-air museum.