The first of these two dachas - the Sestroretsk one - lies in the Karelia woods north of St Petersburg, while the other is in Pirogovo, on the Pirogovo Golf Club just outside Moscow. Located in Nordic forests, the environment is both a natural setting for these houses and influential in the architectural choices, as the interaction with the surrounding trees and plants is central. The layouts are adapted to fit around the existing trees, driving home the idea of interaction between the holiday home and nature. The surrounding environment is also central to the visuals, allowing stunning views of the amazing forest landscape. Light is another key element as the design allows it to permeate the abodes softly and constantly, adding to the living comfort and helping define the structure.
These dachas share a series of traits. The projects are based on an advanced industrialised construction process. The engineered components (installations and architectural elements) were made and pre-assembled in Italy, then disassembled, transported to the sites and re-assembled on the foundations. Similarly, the bathrooms were created as fully pre-fabricated "modules" that simply needed to be "placed" in the houses. Prefabrication allows precision and control even in the creation phases. Both dachas have a solid wooden structure, with cross-linked layers, for the walls and ceilings, bleached durmast oak for the floors, an outer cladding of iroko wood and a zinc-titanium covering for the roof.
The Sestroretsk dacha is slightly raised above the ground to cope with snowfall in winter and to allow airflow in summer. At the heart of the house lies a double-height 'hub', off which are four short 'wings' along a north-south axis. This central section includes the veranda and eating area, with large double-height glazing, and links to the west-facing terrace, via sliding doors. This is also the entrance to the dacha. The wings house the bedrooms and bathrooms. The south-west section is slightly lower and has the living room, but it is connected directly to the central hub via three steps. The living room is a special place, with bookshelves and a heater/fireplace. The use of glazing creates a dynamic relationship with nature and allows in light.
The Pirogovo dacha has an open L-shaped plan to make it possible to insert the building into the lot without calling in the lumberjacks. The residence has a ground floor - slightly raised above the ground - and an upper floor supported by metal piers that constitutes the main section of the house. The lower level is substantially a space for connections, open to the landscape and nature. It includes an open terrace, protected by the volume above, and a glazed veranda, both offering sheltered spaces for relaxing and social life. The linear outline of the upper floor can be informally separated into two sections. The first is the large, light living and kitchen area, with a heater/fireplace in the middle. It has double height glazing that opens up multiple views, almost creating a belvedere, with the light filtered by wooden brise-soleil sunscreens. The second is the bedroom area, set in a row along a linear corridor; once again the glazing is an important element. The south-east elevation is more closed, giving an unpredictable rhythm to the variously sized and shaped windows.
Location: Moscow, Russia
Completion: Pirogovo: 2014; Sestroretsk: 2012
Gross Floor Area: Pirogovo: 330 m2; Sestroretsk: 315 m2
Architects: ZDA Zanetti Design Architettura
Contractor: Wood Beton
Structural and Technical Systems: Wood Beton
Wood Façade: Wood Beton
Bathroom Fixtures: Catalano, Flaminia
Marble Coverings: Cristiani Marmi
Lighting: Artemide, Belux, Davide Groppi, Flos, Kreon, Luceplan, Oluce, Viabizzuno
Furnishings: Artek, Cappellini, Carl Hansen, Cassina, De Padova, Fritz Hansen, Moroso, Thonet, Vitra, Zanotta
Wood Doors and Windows: Wood Beton
Custom-made Furnishings: Essequattro
Ceramic Flooring: Marazzi
Metal Doors and Windows: Schüco
Photography: © Ilya Ivanov
ZDA ZANETTI DESIGN ARCHITETTURA
A Civil Engineering graduate from Politecnico di Milano, Umberto Zanetti lives and works in Milan, where, in 1982, he opened his practice, ZDA Zanetti Design Architecture, which focuses on architectural design, interior design, and industrial and graphic design. He designs and oversees projects in Italy and abroad (USA, France, Belgium, Switzerland, and Russia) in the residential, retail, and office sectors.
Highlights among his industrial design work include furniture collections created for Unifor and Nero3. He was also involved in research into the re-use of plastics with PlasticDesign for the design of office accessories as part of the Remade in Italy exhibition, staged in Milan and Shanghai.
He organized and curated the exhibitions MOCKBA XXI, held at the Moscow Museum of Architecture (MUAR) and the Milan Triennale, and Gabriele Basilico Mosca Verticale, staged at the Cité de l’Architecture in Paris and Spazio Oberdan in Milan, including the exhibition and graphic design of both events.
He has discussed his work at numerous conferences at Politecnico di Milano, Milan’s Domus Academy, and at the IUAV in Venice. He also presented a paper on the development of the city of Moscow and contemporary Russian architecture at the UIA’s World Congress of Architects in Turin.
Zanetti is currently involved in the design of private dwellings, social housing, offices, and budget hotels, He’s also involved in numerous prefabricated designs in developing countries, including Myanmar and Mongolia.