In the hills of San Salvatore Monferrato, in north-west Italy, this villa by Diego Bortolato is just outside the town, in a dynamic that extends both towards the urban area and the wonderful surrounding landscape.
The two sections of this complex - the main house and an annex - are under one large two pitch roof that, through the slope of the roof and the full height portico, recalls a rural farmhouse. The traditional shapes, where right angles predominate, are interspersed with touches of variety, such as the asymmetrical placement of the pillars and the cornices around a few of the windows that protrude either perpendicularly or at an angle to the façade. Colour is another dynamic element. The light coloured elevations contrast with the darker colour of the projecting sections - the cornices, pillars and roof profile.
The shady, sheltered external sections act as a “filter” between inside and outside, helping create a healthy, comfortable atmosphere in both houses of the complex.
Inside, the large doorways, open corridors and glazed sections produce a sense of spatial fluidity. The large, ground floor windows not only provide views of the town and the surrounding hills, but are also carefully placed to optimise natural light year round.
The clear sense of traditional rural architecture merges into an evident search for energy savings. Natural materials were favoured. LignoAlp created the load-bearing structure using a wooden frame and panel structure that is insulated using natural materials, notably wood fibres and hemp.
Such a wooden structure provides a healthy, comfortable interior, with good sound and heat insulation. In this case, these features were combined with design decisions to minimise impact and to use environmentally friendly utilities so as to achieve an energy class A building.
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