Volumes and spaces used to distinguish architecture, Villa PM
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Volumes and spaces used to distinguish architecture, Villa PM


Volumes and spaces used to distinguish architecture, Villa PM
By Francesco Pagliari -
This villa sets out its stall to be a manifestation of the elements and volumes used in contemporary architecture, differentiating itself from much of the rest of this peripheral part of Ragusa where quantity has been the keyword in building over the last few decades. The drive here is to create a distinctive, high-quality home using a lively, consistent contemporary spirit.
The Architrend practice (Gaetano Manganello and Carmelo Tumino) designed this two-storey villa, with a basement level for the garage, to match the family's dynamics and needs. On the one hand, large, flowing spaces characterise the living areas because shared activities and a sense of togetherness are important, with real emphasis placed on making the garden both a functional and visual extension of the home. On the other, privacy is also key, leading to a separate sleeping area and the option to create two independent storeys. The plan for each floor is largely parallel, with large, open, luminous spaces for the living areas, although these are also simultaneously condensed and centred on the glazed skylight well and the relationship with the outside.
On the ground floor, the skylight well has a palm tree, bringing nature into the house, but giving it a decorative veil. The living areas wrap around this feature, creating distinct areas that are separate but interact with each other. The skylight well has a physical presence that enables it to divide the space so that people can be simultaneously busy in kitchen, dining space and living area, but the use of glass allows visual connections that mean one is not alone.
As one moves towards the garden, with its lawn and trees, the underlying idea is "involvement", an effect achieved by full-height glazing that, on the ground floor, completely replaces the north-east corner of the villa. On the upper floor, the skylight well provides much of the light and, in combination with a wall, divides the main living area into two physically separate sections. The connection with the outside is, on the second storey, via the balcony that juts out on the north-east corner. Glass sliding doors lead out onto this balcony from the living area. The result is an external continuation of the internal living area, although the flooring is different, with the balcony being rustic and the living area, elegant. Vertical aluminium blinds enclose the balcony and define the volume of the villa, providing a contrast in the degree of transparency on the upper and lower storeys at the north-east corner.
The entire villa has fine contrasts between the walls and the volumes. The facades also have contrasts, differentiating both the two floors and sections of facade along the ground floor. The choice of materials also has contrasts, with glazed areas, plastered sections and parts clad in lava stone, which creates a real focal point for the structure because of its rough finish and its dark colour. The placement of the volumes reinforces the idea of contrasts, with jutting out sections that characterise the edifice and give it a notable geometrical imprint, such as the balconies on the north-east and south side (the latter framed by partitions), and the steel and glazed shelter protecting the entrance on the west side, rising over the lava stone pathway that mergers into the pavement around the house. The various pieces of the composition are clearly distinguished to bring a contemporary style. It is a way of thinking about architecture where types of luminosity overlap and where transparency, opacity and glazing combine through the geometry. Francesco Pagliari

Francesco Pagliari

Location: Ragusa
Client: Privato
Completion: 2010
Gross Floor Area: 590 m2
Architects: Architrend Architecture - Gaetano Manganello & Carmelo Tumino
Design Team: Fernando Cutuli , Marco Garfì
Contractor: Polis

Door and Window Frames: Metra
Furnishing: Cassina

Parquet: Listone Giordano

Photo by: © Moreno Maggi

Architrend Architecture 
Established in 1989 by Gaetano Manganello and Carmelo Tumino, Architrend Architecture designs and builds public and private buildings, resorts and private residences with a direct, interdisciplinary and minimalist approach. Simplicity, clarity and control of each project are the studio’s hallmarks. Developed to reflect individual requirements, the setting and regional characteristics, while also being marked by a contemporary approach, each project achieves the maximum functional outcome with the minimum formal means.
The firm has designed new premises for themselves in a growth area on the outskirts of the Italian city of Ragusa. The building, with it pronounced minimalist character, is reinforced concrete with glass cladding. It’s a place for both working and living.
The partners have held several conferences and presentations to showcase their work at universities, and have participated in various architectural exhibitions, including: Sicilia-Architettura Catania 2006, Chicago 2007; Architetture contemporanee in Sicilia, Selinunte 2011 and 2012, Rome 2011; Italy Now Tokio 2011, Toronto-Vancouver 2012.
Its designs have been featured in leading Italian and international journals and in the media, including Casabella, Interior, Construction and Land, A10, Braun-publishing, ArchDaily, and a number of Chinese publications.

Medaglia d’Oro all’Architettura Italiana 2012 – Triennale di Milano, Villa GM, shortlisted
Sistema d’Autore Metra 2011 – Villa T, first prize
Ance Catania 2011 – Villa PM, first prize
Architettura InArch-Ance – 2011 Villa PM, shortlisted
Ance Catania edizione 2010 – Restoration of S.M. La Nova church, first prize
G.B. Vaccarini Quadranti di Architettura – 2009 Villa T, first prize
InArch-Ance 2008–09 – Hotel Villa Carlotta, shortlisted

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