In relation to the environment, the architect has a duty to always be active. Preserving does not mean giving up an anthropogenic action on the environment but implementing one that is compatible with the natural and historical peculiarities of the latter.
The characteristics of the original farmhouse (one of the Italian words to indicate the farmhouse) are completely ordinary for the large, productive and residential complexes built in the past in the Po Valley; considering instead a contemporary home, they are unquestionably exceptional.
The project focuses primarily on the enhancement of these qualities and adaptation to contemporary life. The use of traditional materials in a contemporary key, introduce new textures and dialogue with the existing building.
The two buildings that make up it are articulated around a central courtyard, tracing the typical layout of Lombard rural architecture. Complementary and essential to the design were the in-depth historical investigations and the stratigraphic analysis carried out in advance.
The intervention involved the recovery of the buildings for residential use, respecting the typological layout of the original farmhouse. In this sense, the original and authentic architectural and material elements have been restored and maintained and the elements of little architectural and documentary value added in recent times and in contrast with the original forms and layout have been removed or reinterpreted in a contemporary key. Important examples are the vaulted ceilings on the ground floor and the columns that support them, the oversized and uneven internal heights, the grain of the brick walls and the same proportions of the rooms.
The conservative approach that characterizes the intervention is well combined, through the identification of careful and shared solutions, with contemporary housing needs. In particular, the inharmonious superfetations are replaced with functional elements of contemporary architecture.
The main materials are exposed brick and wood left to its natural oxidation; iron, glass and raw concrete for the declaredly added parts. The building is highly energy-saving obtained through integrated solar greenhouses and the geothermal system.The glass and steel solar greenhouses have a dual purpose: on a spatial level they define a filter between the interior and the outside world, while on a technical level they improve comfort and sustainability, accumulating heat in the coldest months.
These added elements are clearly distinct, in a contrast made evident but harmonious, claiming the right of the modern to exist and to show themselves even in an ancient context.
The green project of the nearly five thousand square meters of park surrounding the farmhouse fulfills the important environmental function of melding the renewed architecture and the still authentically agricultural surroundings. The pertinent greenery therefore becomes an element of protection and, at the same time, of domestic production; the choice of essences takes into account the orientations, the shading of the buildings and the nearby watercourse which, although artificial, helps to modify the surrounding microclimate.
In 1979, Edoardo Milesi – graduated with Franca Helg at the Polytechnic University of Milan – founded the studio Archos, which immediately turned its attention to ecological building with a “strong” interpretation of reality, combining attention to environmental issues with attention to social issues. Archos studio operates in varied fields: from the preservation and restoration of national monuments to renewal and transformation plans on an urban scale; from manufacturing sites to private residences, tourist accommodation and cultural buildings. The activities of the studio have always been characterized by research and constant participation in cultural debate about architecture, so much so that over the years the studio has gone hand in hand with a publishing house which publishes, among other things the magazine ArtApp since 2009. In 2014, Milesi founded the non-profit association Scuola Permanente dell’Abitare.
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