Local traditional buildings of the foothills of Italy’s Abruzzo region - raw earth houses that chromatically blend in to the landscape - provide the inspiration for this artist’s home/studio, which was designed with the brief of combining his workspace with a home for the artist and his family under one roof. At Manoppello, Sergio Sarra wanted his home/studio to be a building that reflected his own multifaceted activities. The building offers a simple interplay of dualities and contrasts: from its twin functions - as a home and a studio - to its rural references and formal purity, as well as the openings and closures of its elevations. The project’s hallmark characteristics are its barn-like shape and the use of traditional materials. The volume is formally pure - a parallelepiped with a sloping roof - and yet it features classic and contemporary cladding. The home is covered in clay slabs, which, divided, are applied to the façade and roof. The surfaces interleave in a continuous manner, setting off an elegant chromatic and material effect that is heightened by the purity and simplicity of the building’s form. The rising elevations appear to be closed-in, with a minimum of openings on the side elevations and a completely blind façade to the south, in contrast to the single large glazed area, which opens out onto the countryside on the north-facing elevation. The way that these openings are arranged is the result of an in-depth study of the outlooks and lighting, catering to the needs of channeling horizontal lighting into the building (ideal for the artist’s work) while at the same time framing evocative views out over the landscape. The same compositional simplicity carries through to the floor plan: the spaces are organized in a tripartite division along a rectangular floor plan. Two full-height areas at either end host the studio at one end and the residence’s living room at the other. In the middle, a two-floor block houses rooms for services, the kitchen, a study and a library. A wooden spiral staircase accesses the upper level, which hosts three bedrooms and an additional bathroom. This block functionally and metaphorically splits up the space, creating a filter between the professional work zone and the personal area that the artist shares with his family. This part of the building, which is the only one on two levels, is made out of a square-section, balloon-framed structure, using a building technique that combines a very lightweight, slender load-bearing structure with reduced-section wooden pillars and planks set at close intervals. Multilayer poplar panels provide the infill. Outside, the garden affords the greatest possible visibility to the building, which occupies a dominant position atop a small hillock. The home flows towards the exterior, continuity provided by the full-height glazing and unbroken industrial cement flooring that leads to an overhang with a swimming pool. This delicate, organic new addition has no need to be hidden by vegetation: it adds value to the landscape in all of its visibility.
Location: Manoppello – Abruzzo, Italy
Client: Elisabetta Sarra
Gross Floor Area: 300 m2
Architects: Studio Zero85, Sergio Sarra
Contractor: Madis Costruzioni
Structural: Armando Teofili
External cladding: Wienerberger
Windows: D'Alessandro Produzione Infissi
Photography: © Sergio Camplone
Established by architects Mirko Giardino, Giovanna Pizzella, and Mario Michetti, Studio Zero85 specializes in design and technological innovation in housing, focusing in particular on the relationship between design and context, as well as re-functionalizing urban spaces through mobility planning.
The practice successfully takes part in international competitions. It was selected for the 2012 Premio Architettura dell’ Adriatico for its Trabocco design, which featured at the 2014 Venice Biennial of Architecture as part of the exhibit organized by Cino Zucchi Innesti/Grafting.
The practice was among the 50 designers, from 26 countries, selected for the 2014 Ausgezeichnete Ziegelarchitektur International, with its Casa-Studio di Artista design. The same design received a special mention in the 2014 Fritz-Höger-Preises, held at Architektum Zentrum in Berlin, and won the Premio Architettura dell’Adriatico.
In its many designs over the years, Studio Zero85 has investigated different approaches to the living space, while deepening its insights into the relationship between privacy and sharing. In its work, the practice pays special attention to the use of materials as design tools and understanding the context in which a design is to be built.
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