Extending the rural built environment into the countryside
The plains near the Italian city of Padua are an oft-cited example of urban sprawl, with farmland side by side with rural villages, warehouses, homes from the 1960s and ’70s, and residential subdivisions from later decades. This is the multilayered, complex, and not always attractive setting in which depaolidefranceschibaldan architetti has designed a home, dubbed Villa FG, intended to unite an existing rustic building, nature, and the contemporary.
The site lies between two buildings and is open to the countryside to the rear. The project grew out of the restoration of an existing rural building and the demolition of another building from the 1960s with no architectural interest. In response to the client’s brief, the architects designed the new building as an extension of the existing one, extending it outwards into open countryside.
While reflecting the existing building – now renovated to recover the typical features of the local tradition, with exposed brickwork and a tiled double-pitched roof – the new extension features decidedly contemporary materials and lines. The old brick wall is joined to a new rectangular prism in exposed concrete, slightly set back from the edge of the façade, bringing a new organic and coherent definition to the whole.
The extension consists of two volumes joined by a glazed passageway that creates a continuous line from the front door to the living room. On two levels, the street frontage has the bedrooms and bathrooms. The façade, concrete at ground level and wood upstairs, is almost totally sealed off from the street but opens onto the interior of the courtyard with glazing and a deep covered terrace on the upper level.
Entering the home and walking the length of the glazed passageway, which runs along the garden and houses a long bookcase made of birch, you come to the living area. This open space comprises the kitchen and living room on a single level. One side extends outwards towards the countryside and has a large window, while the other opens onto the internal courtyard.
Concrete, wood, and glass with various finishes and patterns have been used both indoors and outdoors. There are three types of concrete: with a smooth wood texture on the façades, smooth and plain for the floors, and washed with exposed aggregate for the paving. As for wood, larch has been used for outdoor surfaces and birch for the custom-designed interior furnishings.
Large windows open onto the internal courtyard and open countryside to the south, while the side elevations have no openings to ensure privacy. This arrangement reflects the similar balance achieved between the centripetal nature of the courtyard and the axial nature of the floorplan.
This project by depaolidefranceschibaldan architetti introduces a contemporary element into an urbanized setting that improves that setting while tapping into its hidden resources and potential.
Location: Padova, Italy
Architects: depaolidefranceschibaldan architetti
Area: 430 m2
Main contractor: Pajaro Costruzioni
Structural project: Giovanni Geromin
Plant project: Studio Termotecnico Zanon per. ind. Luca
Photography by Karina Castro, courtesy of depaolidefranceschibaldan architetti