In the countryside near Roma, a territory made up of a series of independent houses in the fake-farmhouse style, with a pitched roof, bricks and columns in the portico, we were asked to build a house of 43 smq on very small plot. The strategy was to create a STONEHOUSE.
“ I knock at the stone’s front door
“It’s only me, let me come in.
I want to enter your insides,
have a look around,
breathe my fill of you.”
“Go away,” says the stone.
“I’m shut tight.
Even if you break me to pieces,
we’ll all still be closed.
You can grind us to sand,
we still won’t let you in.”
[…] I knock at the stone’s front door.
“It’s only me, let me come in.
I hear you have great empty halls inside you,
unseen, their beauty in vain,
soundless, not echoing anyone’s steps.
Admit you don’t know them well yourself.
“Great and empty, true enough,” says the stone,
“but there isn’t any room.
Beautiful, perhaps, but not to the taste
of your poor senses.
You may get to know me but you’ll never know me through.
My whole surface is turned toward you,
all my insides turned away. […]”
Conversation with a Stone, Wislawa Szymborska
The Stonehouse is extremely solid on the outside, hollow and light on the inside. A small building entirely covered with travertine. “Da lontano era un’isola”, it looks like one of Munari’s stones.
It is a fortress that presents a strong dichotomy between inside and outside. You have to knock on the travertine door to enter, and when you get in the interior becomes a cavum, a void that generates continuous changes of perception.
Faced with an extremely small surface, the strategy was to work with space and with the theme of looking and being looked, contemplating as a creative act. A double-height space, a mezzanine, a glazed patio, a closed terrace with an open window on the sunset, an outdoor fireplace, a corner swimming pool, all these elements relate to generate continuous changes of scenarios. The common thread is the material. Always and only travertine, as an obsession.
The condition of the plot and the detachments from neighbors shaped the plan of the house. The building area was just 6x12 m. The ground floor is a rectangular open space, with a glazed patio that defines a margin between the inside and the outside, and an outdoor fireplace that works as a side scene. A metal staircase leads to the mezzanine and to the first floor outdoor terrace, closed on the sides but opened on the sky, a space of intimacy. The double-height space with the inclined shaped roof connect visually the two levels of the house.
Water is the other material of the house. The reflection of the water behind the building redefines the relationship between the ground and the sky.
MISALAB is a studio-laboratory based in Rome that was born from the dialogue between two women, Michela Ekström and Sara Ceccoli.
The interests and research activities of the studio address the theme of architectural composition at the various scales of the project, moving in areas ranging from the city to the theme of urban mobility, from the building to interior design.