DeCarloGualla has designed the Rosset house (Quart in Valle d'Aosta) thinking about the changing way in which the home is used and the links between architecture and sustainability. The Alpine environment creates settings where the forms and methods of the mountain building tradition can be seen as functional to key issues in contemporary architecture and questions of environmental sustainability. The house has some elements of a traditional Alpine dwelling, with sharply sloped single pitch roofs covered in slate shingles. Harmony underlies building design here, especially the combination of materials - wood and stone bases, although the stone is used as cladding - and the arrangement of the volumes, which are a distant reminder of some Alpine structures.
The house is on three levels plus an underground garage. Its volumes are divided into different segments, yet unity is achieved through repetitions of individual sections. The whole building rests on a longitudinal base lined with local chinked stone that is, on the northern side, close to the steep slope. From it four similar and concurrent elements rise, orienting the roofs in opposite directions: two eastwards and two westwards. The result is a vision of complex balance. The unity of the house, which is almost like a backdrop, is fragmented into largely independent units in order to provide privacy and functionality, as though this were a multi-family residence. The project is an attempt to look to the future and to provide some answers to changing living and social habits, such as the fragmentation of living in the same family. It also takes the opposite approach, but with exactly the same results, namely the union of the different sections based on a strong sense of belonging or common agreement. An example of such union could be the potential for hospitality, which assumes some sort of shared thinking.
The option to define either clear-cut or flexible divisions of space is another paradigm through which architecture can seek solutions to changing living habits and customs. Consequently, the house has a single ground floor area that has the living room, which is the core and foundation of life together. Here, it has a mirror structure in which the normal image of such a space is doubled. The stairs to the upper floors on the far side of the space are double, as are the bathrooms. Likewise, one finds this “double” notion in the views of the landscape through the glazed openings, with a stainless steel cantilever roof running along the whole length of the wall, covered in photovoltaic panels. On the eastern and western sides, at a slight angle, there are the sections for a gym and indoor exercise. The individual vertical elements are divided into "private" sections. On the second floor, above the living room, there are two volumes that host two separate sleeping areas, accessible via the stairs that start from the common living room.
On the eastern and western sides, above the gyms, one finds the guest areas. The volumes at the centre of the building, clad in cedar wood, are coupled with the south-facing bioclimatic greenhouse. This is the technological centrepiece of the passive energy saving system. The uppermost level of the house has yet more private living spaces. They are cubes characterised by the slope of the pitch, with large glazed walls, covered by the brise soleil system that is the defining trait of the building. It consists of cedar wood blades that are adjustable to match the movement of the sun during the day.
The design uses passive system technologies to save energy. The proximity of the building to the land provides some thermal insulation and creates a core-area with a constant temperature that can be used to moderate the temperatures in the more exposed sections. In this convection system, the stairs act as a "ventilation chimney" to let air flow out. The greenhouse opposite the common living room builds up heat in winter, while in summer the glazing can be opened for ventilation and the glazed roofing is protected by a powered roll-up awning
Location: Quart, Aosta
Client: Famiglia Rosset
Gross Floor Area: 88 m2
Cost of Construction: 1.800.00 Euros
Contractor: Edilvi Costruzioni
Termotechnical: Andrea Mantovani
Structural: Studio Peaquin
Photo by: © Andrea Martiradonna
Jacopo De Carlo, born 1965 in Aviano, graduated in Architecture from Milan Polytechnic in 1993. From 1994 to 1999 he worked with Cibic in Milan, where he specialized in architectural and interior design.
Andrea Gualla, born 1965 in Milan, graduated in Architecture from Milan Polytechnic in 1994. Between 1994 and 2000, he was assistant to Prof. Pietro De Rossi in his course in architectural composition. Since 2001 he has lectured in Interior Design at the Milan Bovisa Faculty of Architecture.
In 2000 De Carlo and Gualla set up DeCarloGualla in Milan, focusing on architecture and design projects. With a team of ten architects and designers, the studio designs and builds offices, private residences, shops and showrooms.
The studio participates in numerous national and international competitions, including the International Competition for the Tianjin Cultural District, China, in partnership with PCMR, in which they won second place.
Over the 2001–03 period, the studio participated in Salone Satellite in Milan, with their contribution focusing on interactive design and how it can stimulate new domestic behaviours. In 2001 the studio was invited to participate in the exhibition Talents in Frankfurt, and in 2002 it was a finalist in the competition Young & Design with its Lady seating system.
In 2004 the studio received an honourable mention in the Archés architecture prize for the design and construction of an office building for Relfo Spa.
In 2005 they designed and constructed VF International Company’s new European headquarters in Lugano, Switzerland. In the same year, they designed numerous flagship stores around the world for Napapijri, a brand owned by this firm, with openings in 2006 in New York, Miami, St.Tropez, Paris, Anversa and Osaka; in 2008 in Madrid and Berlin; and in 2008 the first gallery store in Via Manzoni, Milan.
In 2010 the studio began collaboration with Tod’s, designing a new display concept for the Hogan brand. In 2011 it designed the new Hogan store in Hong Kong and, in 2012, new Hogan stores in Paris and Milan.