Projects

Single-family home - Atessa (Chieti)

In perfect harmony with nature

A house built from stone, wood and concrete in the Abruzzo hills blends in with the surrounding landscape
Author
Laura Maggi
Photos
Stefano Segati
Architect
Fiorenzo Valbonesi (asv3-officina di architettura)
Surfaces
COTTO D'ESTE
Year of completion
2014

“Rigour, simplicity and association are the keywords of the project,” commented the practice asv3-officina di architettura, founded in 1990 by architect Fiorenzo Valbonesi, when discussing the concept behind this house built in the hills of the Abruzzo region in Atessa, in the province of Chieti.
The single-family home stands on hilly terrain dotted with olive trees close to an urban area. On one side it looks down into the valley while on the other it is protected by woodland. “The design intention is informed by a desire to adhere closely to the terrain, the use of materials revealing a powerful relationship with the surrounding natural context,” explain the architects. “The central floor plan originates from the shared spaces of the living and dining rooms, which represent the real heart of the building. A series of stone-clad reinforced concrete slabs radiate out vertically and horizontally like fins from the centre of the layout, generating the other rooms and sheltering the bedrooms from view. The relationship between indoors and outdoors is underscored by large full-height windows oriented according to their views: the living room window facing onto the wood behind the building is vertical, while the dining room window overlooking the valley below is horizontal.”
The main rooms are located on the ground floor, while the upper floor features another bedroom and several more secluded spaces, including a small studio and a living room with a splendid view of the imposing Mount Maiella, the second highest peak in the Apennine mountain range after Gran Sasso.
A key factor in creating an architecture project that blends in harmoniously with the surrounding landscape was the choice of just a few dominant materials, in this case stone, wood and reinforced concrete. “These material choices support the idea of a building that appears to emerge from the ground, that blends in with the surrounding environment but without disappearing, while maintaining a sense of continuity with the natural colours of the Abruzzo region,” commented the architects. Wood, used to create essential furnishings with a powerful material feel and a strongly contemporary style, was used as the main interior design element. The Buxy collection from Cotto d’Este in the colour Noisette was chosen for the floor and wall tiling both indoors and outdoors. The collection has a very natural aesthetic inspired by a stone originating from the French Burgundy region, which is renowned for its distinctive colour and speckled pattern. Buxy in a soft Noisette finish was used on the interior ground-level floors in both the living and dining areas, as well as for the exterior paving of the garage, covering a total surface area of around 100 sq.m.
One particularly interesting design feature was the choice of a green roof, “which reflects the desire to mitigate the new building’s impact on the landscape while at the same time combining with the wall insulation to make the building energetically passive”, notes asv3-officina di architettura. This choice fits in with the philosophy of the design team, which includes young architects such as Giovanni Pulelli, Agnese Valbonesi and Francesco Gasperini, and is based on an “in-depth study of the surrounding environment, respecting and enhancing the landscape where the building will be constructed”.

Tiles
Cotto d'Este, Buxy
Type
porcelain stoneware
Sizes
9,7x119 - 19,6x119 - 29,6x119 cm
Colours
Noisette
Technical characteristics
Water absorpion (ISO 10545-3): 0,1 %
Chemical resistance (ISO 10545-13): LA, HA
Resistance to deep abrasion (ISO 10545-6): 143 mm3
Stain resistance (ISO 10545-14): conforme
Frost resistance (ISO 10545-12): conforme
Modulus of rupture and breaking strength (ISO 10545-4): 50 N/mm2
Slip resistance (DIN 51130): R9 (Nat) R12 (Nat Flammé) R10 (Lux Flammé)
Thermal shock resistance (ISO 10545-9): conforme
Crazing resistance (ISO 10545-11): conforme
Linear thermal expansion (ISO 10545-8): conforme
Certifications and awards
ECOLABEL
LEED
EMAS
ISO 14001
NF UPEC
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