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Villa Z

In dialogue with landscape and tradition

Marazzi Architetti

Villa Z
By Caterina Testa -

The little town of Noceto lies on the southern edge of Italy’s extensive Po Valley Plain, just before the land starts rising to meet the Apennine foothills, and not far from the city of Parma. The landscape is one of ancient villages, isolated farms, agricultural land and industrial clusters. The arrival of detached family homes within well-defined plots is a fairly recent addition. The houses built, however, all largely take their cue from an ingrained preconception of rural architecture, as can be clearly seen from the materials used, the shape of the roofs and the proportions given to solids and voids. Where these relatively recent houses break with the past is in their rapport with the open spaces of this extensive plain. In contrast to the old farmhouses that stood unprotected in the midst of their fields, more modern houses stand back from the road, cutting themselves off from their surrounds with hedges and fences. Designed by Marazzi Architetti from Parma, Villa Z is one of several new houses located on land, recently earmarked for residential construction. Strikingly contemporary in design, it nonetheless references local building traditions in its colors and volumes. The house is the result of a stimulating dialogue with the owners - a couple with a penchant for contemporary architecture - and the local authorities’ building and land-use regulations, which required all residential constructions to have pitched roofs. The Marazzi practice succeeded in blending two apparently irreconcilable viewpoints. Placed in the center of its large plot, the house comprises a monolithic sculptural upper volume resting on a recessed, predominantly glazed, lower structure. The traditional pitched roof has been given a decidedly contemporary remake! Both the building’s shape and the materials used, however, dialogue with the surrounding landscape and with the traditional typologies of the region. The dynamic elongated profile follows the slight gradient of the terrain...

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