A restored house in the hills near Bologna
Francesca Lambertini, Giovanni Mainardi
The house we look at in this article is located in Crespellano, a town in the municipality of Valsamoggia set amongst the gentle slopes of the hills outside Bologna. Immersed in a picturesque landscape, the building stands in a slightly raised position and looks down on the centuriated plain of the Emilia-Romagna region. As the talented young architects who carried out the project, Francesca Lambertini and Giovanni Mainardi, explain, it witnesses «the evocative, impenetrable dialogue between the Abbey of Monteveglio and the Fortress of Bazzano». The town of Crespellano can also boast other prestigious historical sites such as the seventeenth-century Palazzo Stella and the eighteenth-century Villa Turrini-Rossi (today Villa Nicolaj) where the poet Ugo Foscolo spent his convalescence after being injured fighting with the French against the Austro-Russian coalition at the battle of Cento. The architects took this unique historical context fully into account when planning their work. «Integration with the environment was one of the cornerstones of the project, together with attention to the architecture and the quality of the detailing,» they explained.
The work involved remodelling an existing building, «while maintaining its form and position within the site», the two architects explained. «By reorganising the internal distribution of the spaces and the fenestration, which was designed to be effective and harmonious, we were able to restore the building to the simplicity and rigour of its original form. The technological solutions adopted in the process of remodelling the structure enabled us to limit energy losses effectively and optimise the natural resources provided by the location.»
The focal point of the layout is the full-height living room, «the hub of everyday life» located at the centre of the building, a double volume crowned by two solid trusses that support the wooden roof. On either side «the wall is interrupted by two large opposing openings that emphasise the symmetry of the structure and evoke the age-old theme of the «passing loggias» that are so popular in local rural architecture», the architects explained. These openings perform an important function in terms of both lighting and decoration, creating a powerful sense of transparency in which «the lush green of the garden bursts into the living room, together with the light that bathes the interiors the whole day long». So for many hours of the day, the sun becomes a splendid furnishing element in its own right, bringing the interior to life in a continuous shifting of colours and luminosities, from the delicate pale tones of the morning to the warm, soft hues of sunset.
The daytime area, with its large mezzanine lounge facing onto the double volume, and the more intimate, secluded sleeping area are located symmetrically on the two sides of the living room. The interiors are furnished with elegant simplicity and dominated by a variety of white tones that give a sense of depth to the architectural elements. The floor and wall coverings consist of Shadestone collection tiles from Ceramica Sant’Agostino, chosen in the Shadestone Sand, Shadewood Sand and Shadebrick Taupe versions and 60×120 cm, 30×60 cm, 15×120 cm and 7×30 cm sizes in the various rooms. «In addition to their obvious technical qualities, we chose these tiles as a way of evoking the natural shades of wood and the earth and creating an even closer connection between the interior and the garden surrounding the home,» the architects explained. Lambertini and Mainardi, who also oversaw the site work, have created an architectural project that fits in well with the heterogeneity of the surrounding landscape. The interiors in particular stand out for their overall sense of harmony and the outstanding level of comfort they offer to the people who live there.
Ceramica Sant'Agostino, Shadestone - Shadebox - Shadewood
60x120 - 30x60 - 15x120 - 7x30 cm
Sand - Taupe
Water absorpion (ISO 10545-3): <0,1%
Chemical resistance (ISO 10545-13): min. GB
Stain resistance (ISO 10545-14): compliant
Frost resistance (ISO 10545-12): compliant
Modulus of rupture and breaking strength (ISO 10545-4): >45 N/mm2
Slip resistance (DIN 51130): R10 - R9
Thermal shock resistance (ISO 10545-9): compliant
Crazing resistance (ISO 10545-11): compliant
Linear thermal expansion (ISO 10545-8): compliant