The sweet apple: expansion of a farmstay property
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The sweet apple: expansion of a farmstay property

Studio raro

The sweet apple: expansion of a farmstay property
By Caterina Testa -

Ciago is a village in Trentino’s Valle dei Laghi, a strip of land to the west of Trento where vineyard-covered hills are surrounded by Alpine scenery and lake views. Picturesque landscapes and good food have made the location a popular tourist destination for nature and outdoor sport lovers.

La Dolce Mela (The sweet apple) farmstay property is set amidst green countryside, with cultivated land on one side and forest on the other. The facility reflects the two local mainstay industries – hospitality and agriculture – with contemporary architecture that works in synergy with its surroundings.

Restyled in 2015, the facilities at La Dolce Mela have recently been expanded. The project, the work of Trento-based studio raro, comprised additional accommodation and a new home for the property owner.

Located in a protected valley, the main building borders onto apple orchards to the west, farmland to the north, and, to the east, rocky, forested slopes. To the south, it overlooks uncultivated fields, opening to views across the valley.

The new accommodation facilities comprise two small volumes located on the border of the site and facing onto a new garden area with a bio-pool.

The units occupy the western edge of the property, which is closed off by a larch wall set into the ground. They consist of a single above-ground volume constructed from exposed concrete and larch with a green roof. The use of building materials that reflect the setting creates a dialogue with both the eastern border, where there is a wall of natural rock, and with the existing building, with its partial larch log cladding. The abstract volume expands outwards around its windows, with large, flared projections intended to accentuate the relationship with the landscape. Both inside and out, wood and concrete (cast in larch formwork) share the same texture, underscoring the essential design of the volume with their uniform appearance.

The second part of the project, the owner’s home, is located in the southern part of the property. Taking advantage of the sloping land here, it’s built into the ground, therefore minimizing its visual impact on the surrounding landscape. Creating continuity with the new accommodation units, the building has a green roof, while the interior and exterior surfaces are also exposed concrete and natural larch. The partially underground volume is divided in two by an external staircase that crosses the building while maintaining internal continuity. The flared projections that frame the windows give the building a lighter appearance by shifting the emphasis away from its edges and focusing the interiors towards the landscape. Inside, the concrete wall follows the slope of the ground, leading to a skylight to let in natural light from above.

The combination of lines, materials, and layout choices places the two designs between modern and traditional, in so doing establishing a dialogue with contemporary European architecture as well as with the rural mountain setting.


Architect: studio raro
Location: Ciago, Vallelaghi (TN), Italia
Gross Floor Area: 400 m2

Photography courtesy of studio raro

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