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Holiday Home Stella Maris The Beauty of Architecture and Nature

Toti Semerano

Listening to and analyzing nature and place and appropriate their significance, expressivity and emotions: this was how Toti Semerano went about designing the Stella Maris complex in Bibione on the Italy’s Adriatic coast in the north-eastern region of Veneto. The resultant program is a sensitive, elegant translation of how the context spoke to the architect. The approach to the complex through a wooded landscape in the direction of the seashore produces a gradual crescendo of different sensations: sounds, silence, light and colors glimpsed in the pinewood gloom, creating the appropriate mental framework before the visitor reaches the building itself. Here, the approach is as much part of the project as the building itself, a preamble to an architecture that gives concrete form to the essential significance of a place.

A singular mix of residence and spiritual center, with a strikingly moving chapel and meditative cloister, Stella Maris is aptly placed in a exquisitely contemplative setting amidst a wood of tall trees in view of the shoreline, sea and horizon across the water. The approach is deliberately extended, the visitor given only a vague notion of the building lying beyond the wood where the reflections from the sea fall as dappled light on the tall trunks. Although large, the bulk of the two buildings making up the complex is softened by their position on different levels. A clearly defined “corridor” both separates the two structures but at the same time links the two volumes. An identical amalgam of materials and colors, the two units are joined by a short glazed passageway, its transparency taking care not to impede the through-view onto lines of tall trees, the beach and the horizon on the sea.

The multi-story guesthouse section lies on the east side of the north elevation. This discreet, almost linear building reaches out in the direction of the sea - in fact the sound of the waves can be heard from this part of...

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