The 4D manifesto of a European research project
Maria Giulia Zunino
Pietro De Cinque
DE5 Linear House Srl
It is always exciting when travelling by car or train to reach the stretch of Adriatic coastline renowned for the trabocchi, the ingenious stilt-mounted fishing constructions that jut out into the sea. Although seemingly modern, they in fact date back to the eighteenth century and were described by Gabriele D’Annunzio as «giant spiders [with] a life of their own». While originally built to be able to continue fishing during bad weather without the risk of setting out to sea, the trabocchi are now protected for their artistic and cultural value.
Casa Canale is the name of a house overlooking the «trabocco Canale» in the eponymous location north of the gulf of Vasto Marina near Chieti. It was designed by Pietro De Cinque, an engineer with a mission to promote environmental sustainability who himself has created a «machine», but in his case a «living» machine with zero emissions, an articulated arrangement of volumes and a system of terraces with a complex interplay of solids and voids.
Only visible from the sea, the house is hidden within its shaded surroundings thanks to the dark façade areas which mitigate the bright white colour typical of southern Italian homes.
Surprisingly, the entrance to the house is from above, via the street-level roof 12 metres above the sea. The pergola, equipped with photovoltaic panels to meet the home’s entire electricity requirements, leads to a large panoramic courtyard. From there, stairs and a lift descend to level -2, the most private area where the sleeping quarters are located.
From this description, Casa Canale might sound like a subterranean dwelling, dark and mysterious. In reality, it is well lit and follows the natural slope of the hillside while offering constant views of the landscape.
The efforts to minimise the house’s environmental impact began with the choice of materials, which are locally sourced and recyclable. The exterior features the use of wood for the sun screens, parapets and fences, white and anthracite grey plaster for the facades, steel for the parapets and Trani stone for the retaining walls. The interior is dominated by wood and ceramics. In particular, large porcelain slabs from ABK’s LAB325 collection were chosen for the kitchen and bathrooms. These 9-mm-thick modules proved ideal for both the kitchen countertops and the bathroom floors and walls. The collection, in this case chosen in the smooth concrete-like finish called «Base», owes its name to the cement powder code number 325 coupled with the concept of experimentation. Along with the choice of materials and 100% renewable energy, the other essential aspect of an environmentally-friendly project in an area lacking a sewage system is the treatment of domestic wastewater for irrigation.
In this respect, the house stands as a manifesto for leading European research efforts, a field in which the De5 Group is investing heavily. In particular, the house is participating as a pilot site in international tests of the modular «Innoqua» system, an innovative natural water treatment method suitable for both urban and rural areas that exploits the combined potential of earthworms, zooplankton and microalgae.
120x120, 80x80, 60x60
Water absorpion (ISO 10545-3): E ≤ 0,5%
Chemical resistance (ISO 10545-13): UB
Resistance to deep abrasion (ISO 10545-6): < 175 mm3
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): R10