This beautiful house close to Passo del Cavallo in Italy is designed by Ar. Camillo Botticini. Standing on a clearing above 700 m above sea level, the house is built on a steep slope enveloped by green mountains with dolomite rock peaks on every side. The relationship with the ground and the landscape are crucial to constructing this project. The architect believes the ground is crucial to communicating the principle of ‘rootedness’ at the north end of the slope, where the house appears to ‘bite’ into the mountain; meanwhile the house resting on the south slope with its overhang appears to ‘fall partially’ into the valley.
Towards the north, the courtyard of the house is open to the mountain that allows you to look at the profile of the dolomite rock spires that at 1200 m above sea level which continue to permeate into the green plane. While towards the south, a large window splayed mediates between the interior of the living and landscape, and the light coming from the south continues through a bay window into the north patio.
The house is a perfect example of a contemporary design responsive to site, the foundational principle is generated by its lightweight integration into the site. With no exhibitionism and clean layouts, these elements make up the setting with strong expressive intensity. “The house has an irregular plan shaped like a ‘C’ with a patio where the fourth side is made from a green plane that delivers the ‘planimetric’ structure that generates the spaces of the house, creating three bodies with variable height increasing from north-west, where the volume disappears by integrating into the ground,” Botticini explains the layout.
The first body has three bedrooms, two of them have windows facing the patio, through the bathroom; while the third bedroom has a subtracting that opens the master bedroom and its bathroom to the west into the clearing. To the south of the second body, with a height between 3.50 and 4.50 m, is the living room, and an open space suspended between the patio and landscape encompasses it. The closed side has a fireplace that is the same size as the south window.
The living room continues into the dining area, to the east with the double height body: a continuous space characterised by a structured cover consisting of triangular planes, inside which is the recessed lighting. The highest part of the body in the east is characterised by a loft under which houses the kitchen that opens to the patio area, while above it is a space for the study. It creates an integrated fluid area and open to the outside, simultaneously protected, almost closed on the east and west sides (where windows are strategically placed)
The house has some important levels of access. The main, covered by the overhang of three meters of living, is placed towards the south-east. Upon entering, there is a ramp parallel to a main room with fireplace. Here, a ladder goes up to the dining room level and then to the mezzanine, where a skylight opens to the sky at north.
An elevator connects the level of the garage with that of the living room. The space and service areas are located in the basement. The house is devoid of any other artificial elements other than the suspended staircase that cuts through the grass slope.
The house has been built with deep walls (65 cm) to protect against cold and heat, but in addition to that the architecture have installed the geothermal system, heat pump, ventilated walls to offer natural ventilation to curb heating costs with almost no consumption and zero pollution.
The architects take ‘green’ measures to build an eco-friendly, low consumption house. “We wanted an environmentally friendly home in the building materials and insulation, equipped with ventilated walls, a sustainable home in the settlement balance with the landscape. Green meadows and trees framing the outer coating in corrugated oxide copper and Accoya wood (patented of undeformable wood of New Zealand pine replanted forest), the only elements that, with the triple room glass, are the artifice in counterpoint that interacts with nature,” explains Botticini.
To ensure the house is well-lit through natural sources, the ventilated wall copper is modulated with a slight pleating to bounce the light off onto non-reflecting surfaces. Also the wood of the great splay reflects light that is refracted from the south.
The patio flooring made of Iroko wood, the large windows integrated into the copper coating defines a space that is enhanced by a green maple that brings in a piece of nature indoors. The floors are made of resin, while the walls are covered in plasterboard painted white and ceilings are enhanced with recessed lights in the graft cut from the slab-wall, the parapets are of glass while the windows are made of painted iron. The use of such basic materials serves the objective of exalting the space and its continuity, favouring the integration to the site.
Ar. Botticini and his team did a splendid work of integrating nature into the Alps Villa and creating an eco-friendly settlement for the owners.
Story: Anuja Abraham
Photo credit: Niccolò Galeazzi