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Fiorenzo Valbonesi

Fiorenzo Valbonesi

Fiorenzo Valbonesi graduated from Florence in 1977 under Gianfranco Di Pietro, an architect specializing in upgrade urban projects. His first work experience was, accordingly, in town planning. He set up a firm in Cesena and, like many a project designer in that province, diversified to suit the demands of public and private commissions. A break-through occurred at the outset of the millennium when he got the chance to design the Campodelsole cellars: 4,250 sq m nestling in the Bertinoro countryside (near Forlì). Valbonesi designed the premises in two structures, one to house the finished product, offices and an area for wine-tasting, the other containing the production plant (a smaller third section at one end forms the custodian’s house). The first part of the building is long and thin in the form of a ramp dialoguing with the low surrounding foothills. The second is covered by a green metal roof reminiscent of a pavilion-style prairie house: it projects in just such a way horizontally and is intended to give unity to the whole construction. Valbonesi borrows from Wright in breaking the rook up with skylights: his five pointed skylights offset the horizontal planes by their nicely-judged upwards thrust. Another Wrightian touch is the generous overhang resting on an iron framework - at points as much as 17 m wide - serving as a porch against the weather and shelter for machinery. Another happy outcome of this choice of structure is the decision to sling a slender gallery made up of struts and tie-beams from the girders. The great vats in which the wine ferments, are held aloft by this, clearing the ground of obstacles so that presses can be manoeuvred up to extract the grape residue. The upper network of ties and struts carries stainless steel catwalks giving access to the vats from above. The result is an efficient production plant that also has a spatial charm about it: it plays on various heights and differing lines too, thanks to the triangular...

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