Making an attractive golf facility out of a former stone quarry near Castenaso, on the immediate outskirts of Bologna, was the challenge facing Antonio Iascone. His proposal seeks to correlate architecture and landscaping, the natural environment and the historical features within it, and to make creative use of a simple open plot of land.
The basic design decision was to divide up the volumes needed for the various golf-club functions. The result is a sequence of detached low-rise horizontally extending structures abutting on the central pedestrian walkway, a prominent ground-level feature dictating the whole layout. The individual buildings serve the functions of clubhouse reception and leisure areas, sports activity facilities with changing rooms and a fitness centre, and hospitality in the form of a hotel building complex designed in a series of glass-fronted cubes. The plain horizontal line of the architecture nestles between the bold sweep of the poplars bordering the approach drive and central access routes and the undulating terrain of the fairway winding through the old quarry.
From the architect’s sketch one sees the elegance of the guiding idea for the club complex, which then works out in a series of rigorous technical and structural features. Sunlight exposure conditions, resulting from detailed physical and mathematical model analysis, together with the thermal and energy efficiency inside the buildings, have been studied with a view to optimizing the inner environment.
Equal care has been taken to keep landscape transparency, whilst protecting the privacy of certain buildings. Prospects from the clubhouse are ensured by extensive low-emission-glass curtain walling, permeable to a narrow band of infra-red rays, while the hotel cluster, secluded behind trees, gains sunlight and glimpses of landscape from its floor-to-ceiling glazing. The most exposed facades make use of natural “sun-breaks”: the tree rows themselves stand fairly close, while near each section of glass facade a stout steel-cable network, filled with stones , forms a regular 25x25 cm lattice designed to support a screen of vegetation.
An architectural feature of many outer walls is the use of stonework, picking up the stone quarry and watercourse themes. The containing gabion cordons jut out from the facade line, the dense roughness of the material showing to the outside. They rise naturally out of the ground, their mass providing further thermal inertia. In this way the architecture combines cost effectiveness with new expressive modes, to give a well balanced composition. The use of prefabricated components contributes to providing an overall simplicity of line. Poor materials like iron mesh and stone make a strong aesthetic statement becoming the key features of the whole concept.
A focus of the project is the clubhouse, raised off the ground by a 20 cm dais, with strip lighting running below. The effect is of the building floating off the ground.