Private residence - Quattro Castella (Reggio Emilia)

History, landscape and the future

A large farmhouse in the Emilia region of Italy reveals historical details, new perspectives on the landscape and future-proof habitability
Virginio Briatore
Studio Fratti Burani
Year of completion

A typical farmhouse in the vicinity of Quattro Castella in the province of Reggio Emilia has been completely remodelled as a home for a young family with children.
The recovery and renovation of the building was handled by Burani Fratti Associati, a local firm of architects, and covers 311 square metres, divided between the main living quarters and the utility areas. A number of general issues had to be tackled in the course of this substantial conversion, but efforts were made at all times to highlight certain features of historical and architectural interest.
On the design front, the greatest difficulties derived from the constraints imposed by the building’s setting, which gave rise to various limitations, but ultimately allowed sufficient leeway to create a coherent project that meets the client’s needs.
At the same time, the special location, which is of considerable natural interest, enabled the architects to emphasise the peculiarities of the existing building and its relationship with its context, as well as the extensive adjoining areas of greenery and the view of the foothills in the background.
The usual priorities for a recovery and restoration project were carefully studied and identified, as explained by the architect Valeria Burani: ” One of the main aims of the project was to recover the existing architectural content as far as possible, so as to accentuate the historical identity and characteristics of the original structure, its construction features and the typical materials of the architectural traditions of our region, such as the bearing structure made primarily of terracotta brick, with parts in stone, and floor slabs made of combinations of brick and concrete, and wood and brick. That’s why we recovered the wooden beams in the living area, and several walls where the original stonework was brought to light by cleaning by hand, specifically for the purpose, and subsequent sanding. All the ‘new’ elements, by contrast, are brought together on a single floor, so that the colours and patterns remain uniform and serve as a back-cloth for the existing features.”
These features are visually significant and are underscored by their juxtaposition with Norway wood-effect fine porcelain tile by Serenissima in the colour Long Night, which is a dark grey, reminiscent of coloured parquet. The furniture and finishings represent an attractive blend modern and traditional styles, complete with a number of design choices that add to the sense of space.
To enhance the usability of the interior space without recourse to actual extension, a number of dilapidated utility areas were restored and upgraded to meet the requirements of modern life.
The needs of the farming families that once occupied the house were very different from those of today’s families, so modifications were made to the exterior façades to fulfil the requirements of the current occupiers. These included enlarging certain windows so as to ensure the right window-to-wall ratio and strike the right balance between indoors and outdoors, taking particular care to showcase the latter to best effect.
The young couple provided the architects with a sample of a specific finish they wanted for the living-room wall, and the contractors then went about creating it. The resulting texture is similar to that of lime plaster, but in a more contemporary style, in which the colour pattern pairs up harmoniously with the horizontal projection of the floor covering.

Serenissima, Norway collection
porcelain stoneware
20x120 cm
Long Night
Technical characteristics
Water absorpion (ISO 10545-3): E <_ 0,3% Bla GL
Chemical resistance (ISO 10545-13): classe GA e GLA
Stain resistance (ISO 10545-14): compliant
Frost resistance (ISO 10545-12): compliant
Modulus of rupture and breaking strength (ISO 10545-4): R≥ 35 N/mm S≥ 1300 N
Slip resistance (DIN 51130): R10
Thermal shock resistance (ISO 10545-9): compliant
Crazing resistance (ISO 10545-11): compliant
Linear thermal expansion (ISO 10545-8): compliant
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