Immersed in the wine-growing landscape around the northeastern Italian town of Treviso, La Ghiacciaia restaurant stands on the site of the remains of a building whose history is emblematic of this part of Italy: the 17th icehouse (ghiacciaia in Italian), once part of a patrician villa that once stood on the site, later an ammunition depot and bunker during the Great War, and now converted into an elegant restaurant whose owner is determined to keep the history of the place alive.
The project by MAO Architects based the layout of the new building on the only surviving element of the villa, its boundary wall. The approach to the restaurant through rows of vines is designed to give visitors a walk back through history. The path leads to the entrance, a sort of underground cave, once the heart of the former icehouse, now part of the restaurant. From here, diners pass to the concrete bunker and then to the newly created spaces containing a lounge bar and open kitchen lit by a central underground courtyard. Going back up to ground level, they enter a large glazed room overlooking the vineyards, the pillars supporting the roof recalling the geometry of the vineyards outside. Adaptative restoration also involved the exterior, with the creation of semi-private spaces on top of the icehouse surrounded by vegetation: niches of privacy and calm.
The new construction exudes an ineffable lightness of touch, discreetly settling into its rural setting. It epitomizes harmony between nature and the manmade. The materials chosen – concrete, steel, glass, clay, local stone – reflect the history of the place down the years through to today. As the building is partly underground, with skylights and metal window and door frames flush with the floor, and a partly earth-covered roof, special attention had to be given to waterproofing. Mapei supplied materials and systems along with technical assistance.
Waterproofing of the vertical section of the basement extension: Plastimul Primer SB, Mapethene LT
Sealing of elements passing through surfaces: Mapeflex Blackfill
Waterproofing of the earth-covered roof segment: Mapeflex PU 45 FT, Primer SN, Quartz 0.5, Purtop 1000