Private Residence “La casa sul bosco” | The Plan
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Private Residence “La casa sul bosco”

The pavilion enters the world of the maisonette

Malfona Petrini

The small private villa, or maisonette, is a recurrent feature of the Italian landscape. In his seminal book on the villa, James Ackerman gives an account of its history and how it relates to both countryside and urban centers. The maisonette is a case apart. This sort of family house took hold after the Second World War with the rise of a well-off middle class now able to realize its dream of suburban living free from the constraints of city life. In some cases, the maisonette-cum-villa replaced the city apartment, especially if the suburban areas were well connected to the nearby town. 
Living in natural yet domesticated surroundings, halfway between the open countryside and the city, and at the same time having the amenities of the city but also the space and comfort not available in built-up areas were at the root of the “ideology” behind this building typology. In Italy, the phenomenon took off in the 1970s, a period of widespread social conflict during which cities became more dangerous, or at least, were perceived as such. 
The middle-class that had flourished rapidly with the economic boom started leaving the city for what was then known as comprensori, outlying suburban areas that grew up as small garden cities where the new private maisonette sat alongside residential high-rises and apartment blocks. One of these new suburban enclaves, Milano Due, would be the making of Italian magnate and politician Silvio Berlusconi, who from there would push the boundaries of broadcasting to invent a cable television network that in just a few years would become a national and then international television empire. 
The maisonette is only partly associated with the rise of the holiday home, another widespread phenomenon throughout Italy that has scarred the country with scores of buildings of little architectural worth. In a period of soaring inflation during which the price of money continued to fall, many middle-class...

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