The outskirts of Schio are rather mundane, with the clearest landmarks the rolling hills some distance off. Diego Peruzzo and Loris Preto set out to explore correlations, creating a recognisable building that is both sustainable and attentive to the surrounds that ultimately define the interior.
The choice of materials seeks a middle ground between tradition and the desire to renew, combining and contrasting reinforced concrete, bricks, wood, glass, metal frames, cork panels for insulation and perimeter pillars. The energy sustainability of the building relies on the depths of the earth and the sun, with geothermal power drawn from underground to heat or cool the structure and a set of photovoltaic panels placed slightly apart on the south-facing terrace. The hilly landscape is echoed in the architecture, building a dialogue with the context.
The diversity of the volumes divides the space between free structures and sharp right angles that not only provide solutions to functional requirements, but also produce both internal views and glimpses of the outside. The bearing structure uses pillars and girders filled in with masonry and slabs to create distinct sections. A north and a south facing volume form the base, interlocking along the central east-west axis. In this space, the metallic staircase with a glazed parapet helps create the directionality that draws one’s gaze from the entrance on the west side towards the garden beyond the eastern façade. The stairs are also a ground-floor barrier separating the open-plan living areas from the more private bedroom zone.
This highly visible and diverse building manages to resemble both a drop falling onto the ground floor and a rising, glistening shell. This duality, echoed in the use of transparency and opacity, has hints of the hills in the distance through the continuous curved forms. These elements make this the dominant and most distinctive architectural element.
The mosaic pattern on the opaque sections creates a stark contrast with the full-length glazed eastern façade that forms a sharp break in the volume and brings luminosity and visual depth. The varied height of the interior recalls a cupola, defining the spaces for the open-plan ground floor and the mezzanine level accessible via a narrow flight of stairs, following the intrados to the top of the structure. Inside, recesses and double-height spaces, with a balcony protected by glazed parapets, offer intersecting vertical views, while the natural light, from both above and the sides, produces intriguing plastic effects. The balcony on the mezzanine level is characterised by the proximity of large, light-coloured wooden beams.
In its quest to be expressive, this house not only alludes to elevated forms of expression, but also intermingles curved lines with radical sharpness. It is very much about creating an urban landmark and capturing attention using architectural forms that one can live in.