This complex project offers numerous lines of interpretation. The house, sitting above many others in this Alpine hamlet, is a defining element in this composite landscape of buildings and nature.
The steep slope is a critical element in the design, but it is just one of numerous themes and comparisons that run through the complex. There is a return to the origins and characteristics of such Alpine constructions, with an interpretation of the relations between buildings in a mountain village. Layers of essential elements in the building are evident and part of the dynamic of place and living, tradition and current trends. This tall stone building adopts a consistent approach to material, becoming a reference point for the valley. It is a structure that lends itself to both recovering and revising how we live in a building. The annex adjacent to the stone house is a truly complementary structure. Originally it was a haybarn - the tabià as it used to be called in the Alps -, but now it has been fully converted into a living unit, with its own specific traits, placed harmoniously next to the main house through the choices about size, shape and materials. The project focuses on and expands these intersections. The Gianìn house should be seen as a whole, made up of living spaces that gain meaning through harmonious juxtaposition. They are clearly different, but also draw on the same project design. The overall goal was to sensitively work with a wealth of content in developing mutual relationships between the buildings, and in skilfully integrating refurbishment, replacement and extension.
The main building is solid and sturdy, having kept the original volume. It acts as a landmark in the landscape, with traditional stone practically prevailing over windows. The four floors are organised into two separate living units, with the necessary changes. Each of them is two floors, with independent entrances (for the lower apartment, the entrance is on the side; for the upper one - almost a loft - it faces the mountain). The functional division of the two apartments is almost a mirror image. On the lower level, the living area is on the ground floor, while in the other apartment the living area is on the top floor. Plentiful larch wood for the floors and the recovered beams gives the interior spaces a cosy feel.
The adjacent building is a single living unit, with its own clear character and emphasis on the materials used. It consists of three floors, with a narrow rectangular plan, positioned at a slight angle to the main building.
The project defines distinctive elements: a very solid base, opening onto the valley to the south through a large glazed wall that offers a sweeping view of the landscape; a honeycomb structure made of larch wood on the southern façade, a visual allusion to the traditional haybarns used in the Alps; the seamless panelling with larch wood on the western façade that is broken up only by a few elongated diamond-shaped openings, to provide light for the windows behind.
Screens protect from the sun and filter light, creating interesting patterns in the interiors that are by and large dominated by the wood used for flooring, walls and stairs. The screened wall facing south hides a double height loggia that the living area and bedroom open onto. For each of the three levels, with the long and narrow layout, the key room - be it the living room or the master bedroom - overlooks the valley, through the double height loggia or directly. The overhang, which is the loggia, offers shelter for the transition space between the outdoors and the ground floor, a small larch platform.
This complex displays strong expressive and interpretative values, with the clear mark of the integration between the natural and built landscape, in a truly sensitive design.
Location: Coi, Valle di Zoldo (Belluno Province)
Structural: Andrea Rigato
Photography: © Valentino Nicola