Set in the hills near Biella, northern Italy, Teca House is a meticulous example of turning traditional architectural composition on its head. Taking a minimalist, natural approach, this project, inspired by Philip Johnson’s famous Glass House, reinvented what was a small rural building.
The shared vision of Milan-based architect and designer Federico Delrosso and his client, Alberto Savio, a local textiles businessman, laid the foundations for the creation of a contemporary design that reanimates rural architectural traditions, opening them to new uses. The house itself has a usable floorspace of around 860 square feet (80m2). But by opening the sliding glass walls that extend right around the home, this area expands to 1,400 square feet (130m2). This is an adaptable space, just as suited for private functions as for an intimate, personal homelife. The project’s aim was to create a landmark that would be seen by the local community as a reflection of their traditions.
“With this project,” explains Federico Delrosso, “we set out to create a showcase (teca) for humans and their emotional life. One that offers a unique and poetic perspective. One that totally immerses its occupants in nature – almost as if they were suspended in space. At the same time, though, the design draws your focus from the inside to the outside, underscoring the central role of humans.”
The footprint of the design occupies the footing of the previous building, while its concrete load bearing structure extends into large cantilevered wings around its perimeter. With all external surfaces transparent, the personality of the design is defined by its extensive use of glass. And, as with Johnson’s design, its use is intended to bring the correct amount of natural light into the home. Likewise, a great deal of attention has been given to energy efficiency through the use of an air-to-air heat pump air conditioner combined with radiant floor heating, fan coil units, a VMC system, and a high-performance photovoltaic system. The result is a home with an A4 energy rating.
Teca House was presented at the Time Space Existence exhibition, held at Palazzo Mora as part of the XXVI Architecture Biennale in Venice in 2018. It featured in Dreaming the Real, a short film about Federico Delrosso, directed by Luca De Santis with art direction by Davide Giannella, which was presented at the 2018 Milan Design Film Festival.
Architect: Federico Delrosso Architects
Location: Biella, Italy
Photography © Matteo Piazza
courtesy of Federico Delrosso Architects
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