Projects

Private House - Arcugnano (VI)

A vertical house

Bold lines and a vertical sequence of rooms that offer original perspectives. A contemporary project that dialogues with an old existing structure.
Author
Laura Maggi
Architect
Piero Polato (Piustudi)
Surfaces
REFIN
Sanitaryware
Ceramica Flaminia
Year of completion
2008

A house consisting of a tall, narrow section of a more than a century old building in the historic centre of Arcugnano, a town set in the Berici hills in the province of Vicenza, Italy. Inside, three rooms each with a floor space of just 23 square metres arranged one above the other and separated by two wooden floors. No electrical systems or plumbing. This was the starting point of the project carried out by architect Piero Polato from Vicenza-based firm Piustudi: a challenge to transform an old village house, enclosed within a larger structure and now almost impracticable, into a modern home while maintaining the existing features and without destroying the spirit of the place. In the words of the architect, this ad hoc project “sought to create contrasts between the clearly defined historical features and the new additions …. largely through the use of strongly contemporary materials that make the work carried out on the building clearly visible”. Specifically, new metal beams were introduced along with a concrete staircase to replace the dilapidated and treacherous wooden stairway that joined the various floors. The project aimed to maintain the characteristics of a typical late nineteenth century village house with old stone walls, while adapting it to modern requirements. The open kitchen and dining area was located on the ground floor, a living room with bathroom on the first floor and a bedroom on the second. These functionally distinct volumes merge together to form a continuous space that rises spirally in a chromatic sequence of white and black, warm and cold colours, wood and metal, an alternation that is reflected in the furniture which also introduces a bright red note. The stone walls and wooden beams of the ceilings have been left visible to maintain a clear reference to the past, while the most distinctive elements of the project are the new staircase, which rises audaciously and becomes a major feature of the space, delineating its borders, and the wall of ceramic tiles that runs along the side of the stairway. Conceived as a versatile skin that is modelled and shaped according to the structure, this wall runs through the various rooms, interconnecting them and creating different functional spaces. On the ground floor the area below the staircase is fitted with large drawers, a highly rational and practical solution. On the first floor it provides a backdrop to the sofa with a red/black colour contrast, and on the second floor it serves as the headboard for the double bed. The ceramic tiles constitute the leitmotiv and cornerstone of the project. Their geometric shapes extend over both the floor and the wall coverings, interacting with the historical features of the house and playing with the light that filters in through the small pre-existing window and the intentionally larger new openings. This creates a space with varying visual and material contrasts, surfaces that are rough, smooth, angular, jointed, irregular or perfect.

Tiles
Ceramiche Refin, Arketipo series and Velvet Ground series
Type
porcelain stoneware
Sizes
22x44,5, 44,5x44,5 (Arketipo); 30x60 (Velvet Ground)
Colours
Nero, Beige, Cenere
Technical characteristics
Water absorpion (ISO 10545-3): 0,2%
Chemical resistance (ISO 10545-13): conforme
Resistance to deep abrasion (ISO 10545-6): ≤175mm3
Stain resistance (ISO 10545-14): conforme
Frost resistance (ISO 10545-12): conforme
Modulus of rupture and breaking strength (ISO 10545-4): ≥35 N/mm2
Slip resistance (DIN 51130): R9
Thermal shock resistance (ISO 10545-9): conforme
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