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Palazzo MC

Creating an Intimate Microcosm

Corsaro Architetti

Palazzo MC
By Elisa Grossi -
Alpi, Effe, Carminati Serramenti have participated in the project

The small hill-top town of Cisternino nearly 400 m above sea level in Apulia’s Itria Valley has typical white limewashed houses lining stone-paved alleys that lead into small sun-soaked squares. Balconies with wrought-iron balustrades look out to the Adriatic Sea in one direction and the rural landscape of trulli and olive trees in the other. The main square of this jewel of an old town with no more than 12,000 souls is Piazza Vittorio Emanuele II, also known as Piazza dell’Orologio on account of its clock tower, built in 1850 by the masons of architect Curri from Alberobello. On the opposite side of the square, a long, narrow four-story rectangular building had long lain abandoned and in disrepair until it was purchased by a Dutch couple who already owned a house in the nearby countryside but wanted a pied-à-terre in town as well. This was how the Palazzo MC renovation and reinstatement project by Corsaro Architetti got underway.

The basic idea behind the project was twofold: to open up the house onto its magnificent urban surroundings, and create an area of natural vegetation inside, bringing nature into the house. Not only did this design align with the clients’ own wishes, it also ensured natural lighting and ventilation of the various environments, making it a comfortable and pleasing place to live in. Inspired by the beautiful Itria Valley landscape, the concept gave rise to architecture that is profoundly rooted in its physical context but also reaches for the sky, creating a medley of the physical, the metaphysical, and an amalgam of historical constructions and the natural environment. The architects proceeded to carve out the center of the building and create a double-height covered patio with a large operable skylight. This central “shaft” can be opened or closed as required to regulate temperature and humidity, ensuring year-round comfort-zone conditions. In the summer, the patio acts...

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