A small villa in Piedimonte Etneo
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A small villa set among the scents of citrus and olive trees in Piedimonte Etneo

A barn beneath Etna transformed into a home with a rooftop swimming pool

Dap Studio

A small villa in Piedimonte Etneo
By Editorial Staff -

The setting is between Etna and the Ionian Sea, amid the mix of colors and scents typical of this location with its volcano, forest, and sea. It’s here, among the citrus orchards, olive groves, and vineyards of Piedimonte Etneo, a new house has been created from a former barn by Elena Sacco and Paolo Danelli’s Milan-based studio, DAP.

The building is part of a larger property, marked by lava flows, fruit trees, and a stately home. As the two architects explain, “The initial assignment only involved redesigning the outdoor areas and swimming pool, which had been left unfinished from a previous project,” and which is located above what has now been transformed into a single-level guest home. By taking advantage of the beauty of the surrounding landscape, DAP’s project enhanced this space, making it equally peaceful and a continuation of nature, from where the gaze roams towards the sea. This is the philosophy that underscores the entire project.


A home made of lava stone, wood, and glass

The small house, around 970 square feet (90 m2), sits perfectly among the surrounding hills and the terraces of its sloping site with their lava stone dry walls, which in turn formed the basis for creating a sense of continuity with the essential interior design. By simply observing this detail, it’s possible to see the visual continuity that this reuse project was trying to achieve – a form of dialogue between interior and exterior that hinges on the transparency of the home’s large windows. And these full-height sliding windows are one of the defining elements of the building, with them set back from the roofline to create a covered 345 square foot (32 m2) outdoor area that brings exterior and interior together. The interior of the house, however, can be opened or closed to the outside as desired using retractable sunscreen panels that rotate and concertina away. The amount of light entering the home therefore depends on the angle of these screens. The equipment room for the pool above, which borders directly onto the living space, has the same type of slats as these sunscreen panels but, unlike them, are fixed.


The interior design and rooftop swimming pool

The same visual, material, and chromatic continuity has been achieved inside the villa, with the day and night areas connected in a flowing, open way by simple furnishing elements and further sliding partitions. The same is true for the materials used, with the lava stone of the back walls echoing the external dry stone walls of the terraces, while the crushed stone floor is identical to the paving in the garden. The wall finishes and slatted false ceiling are wood, another typical natural element of northeastern Sicily, completing an interior design that ranges chromatically from white to gray to the browns of wood. Finally, an infinity swimming pool occupies the terraced roof. Its essential, rigorous geometries project the surface of its water towards the sea and the horizon beyond.


Location: Piedimonte Etneo (Catania)

Completion date: 2020

Internal surface: 90 m2

External surface: 32 m2

Project by: Dap Studio

Photos by: Lamberto Rubino, courtesy of Dap Studio

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