At the very heart of this design lies an age-old oak tree that rises on this plot of land. Since the villa is really oriented towards the tree, it becomes an external visual reference point visible from many rooms in the house, as per the client’s request. The house is formed of overlapping volumes that open up and 'slide' onto each other in an articulated composition. The dwelling uses this internal/external dynamic to strike a balance between the presence of the oak tree and the expressive interiors.
The creation of a longitudinal axis was central to the design, seamlessly aligning the living spaces, dining area and kitchen on the ground floor and the master bedroom on the upper floor. Architectural elements are then used to give visual emphasis to this axis. The double-height glazing at both ends of the physical and visual axis connects the spaces in a clear, double reference to the outside world. This is accompanied by the careful, gradual movement of the living spaces along the longitudinal axis.
As noted, the axis is central to the villa’s design. It is along this corridor that the stairs are placed, a clear volume with a solid bannister that runs along the wall behind which stands the garage. It is also along this corridor, running parallel to the stairs and between the two high walls of the bannister (made of white iron) that one finds the opaque glazed raised passageway that connects the landing of the stairs to the interim space that precedes the master bedroom. The same axis is also lit by a long, longitudinal skylight that, aside from being a defining architectural feature, cuts through the eaves and lets in plenty of light for the living room to great visual effect. Light penetrates from the top while gentler, diffuse light seeps through the opaque glass of the raised passageway, producing a wonderful blend of illumination. The space here is seamlessly connected and follows the direction of the longitudinal axis, off which are the ground-floor living areas. The division of space is achieved through the layout of the furniture and with bare concrete - highly visual - partitions that are neither connected nor perpendicular to each other. They freely define the space with the simplicity of the architectural elements used. This longitudinal axis, with the living spaces in a sequence, intersects - near the entrance - a double-height space, a sort of virtual vertical line that becomes a focal point. It gives the villa a sense of height and an abstract vision of space that creates an overlay of volumes and protruding sections that form a geometrical, almost sculpted space.
The juxtaposition of materials and finishings is common both inside and outside, as is the contrast between rough and smooth surfaces, both features that add to the sense of space and introduce variety into an otherwise unitary composition. The overall effect is of cross-cutting light that highlights the bare concrete wall under the stairs, which in turn stands out in stark contrast to the smooth white of the finishings used for the surrounding materials. This wall frames, at an angle, the area under the stairs and the concrete finish sets the rhythm for this space, creating a backdrop that helps exalt the shapes of the contemporary sculptures.
Luogo: Prato di Correggio, Reggio Emilia
Anno di Realizzazione: 2010
Superficie Costruita: 450 m2
Architetti: x2 architettura
Impresa di Costruzione: Edil Esse
Strutture: Luca Speroncini
Impianti: Luca Lotti, Loris Cavandoli
Fotografie: © Giacomo Magnani
x2 architecture was established in 2004 by Silvia Fornaciari and Marzia Zamboni. Its work centres on architectural design and restoration projects in the public and private sectors. A highlight among its designs is Muro Verde, an affordable housing design for young farmers, which was nominated in the Best Designs section of the 2005 B. Cappochin International Award. In 2006, the practice won the invitation-only competition for the construction of a new congregational hall and the restoration of the San Floriano parish church in Reggio Emilia. For the Commune of Reggio Emilia, it redesigned Piazza di Porta S. Stephen, which forms the western access to the historic city, whose strong architectural character attracted urban redevelopment commissions from abroad. In 2012, the studio won first prize in the 2061 Kuwait International Design Competition for a project for environmentally sustainable development and the transition of the country to a green economy. In addition to its ongoing participation in conferences dedicated to church architecture, the firm takes part in competitions in this field. After the 2012 earthquake in Emilia, it participated in a workshop for the design of temporary churches organized by the Lercaro Foundation in Bologna. In 2012, it won third prize in the fifth International Prize for Sacred Architecture, with its design of the new congregational hall in the parish church of San Floriano in Reggio Emilia.