Cigliè || Italy
Cigliè is a small village in the Langhe hills, between Ceva and Carrù, where a Dutch couple chose to build their vacation home. Accustomed in their homeland to unending flat plainland, the Medieval Castle in Cigliè, the vine-lined slopes, walnut and hazelnut trees and views out over the Piedmont plain and onto the Alps must have seemed to them the finest possible scenery for their periods of downtime in Italy.
Such rich beauty merited a simple and essential frame. The steeply sloping land and principal vista to the North-west, towards Mondovì and the Alps, inspired the architects at Studioata to design a small residential structure wholly focused on the landscape. The home they designed for the Dutch couple reproduces the forms and materials of local Piedmont tradition, albeit in a synthetic and contemporary style. Set in a declivity on the hill, the building is clad throughout in brick, without any breaks in its vertical walls or the pitched roof, while at the same time including variations and exceptions that use the same material frame of reference.
In line with the guest bedroom along its side elevation, a timber paneling sunshade laid out in a “crosshatch” pattern allows light in while offering views out towards Cigliè Castle; even the door to the technical area, accessible from the main facade, is brick-covered. On the roof, the chimneys and large skylight, their inclined surfaces covered in exposed brickwork, were conceived as small architectural “follies” that, without altering the compact nature of the building, redesign the profile of the construction as part of the new skyline.
The three facades and roof, all of which are hermetically sealed on the uphill side, open downhill onto the Langhe hills via a huge (almost 30 sq. m.) sliding glass pane, which offers access between the outdoor area and the inner heart of the home. Inside, the 110 sq. m. of space maximizes the simplicity and linear approach the owners sought: the living room and main bedroom occupy the width of the large glazed pane, while the guest room looks out to the side, through a window concealed by a brickwork grille.
Protected by the brick envelope, a loggia serves as the threshold between the interior and a wide terrace built out of 35 solid tree trunks laid out on the ground side by side to form a wide stairway leading down to the ample garden. A three-meter high gateway marks out the entrance to the property, like a piece of land art framing the hills and the home as part of the landscape. In architectural and construction terms, a contemporary design creation in a rural setting with close links to its traditions presupposes a felicitous combination of a number of elements: the clients’ intuition and trust in finding a good designer;
an architectural practice capable of understanding the evocative aspects of the location, and of coming up with an innovative re-interpretation of local traditions; and a construction company capable of taking the design to heart, instilling dedication into their work and passion into turning it into a reality. At this Cigliè home, a harmonious combination of all three elements has resulted in a ground-breaking and contemporary design whose roots in the local area are particularly strong.
Location: Cigliè, Italy
Completion Date: 2018
Gross Floor Area: 110 m2
Main Contractor: Aimo Costruzioni
Structural: Michele De Rossi
Environmental Sustainability: Davide Ambrosio
Windows and Doors: Automation Doors
Cladding: Sanmarco Terreal
Photography: © Beppe Giardino, courtesy of Studioata
Studioata operates in and conducts research into the fields of construction, interiors, product design, graphics and web design. Studioata is a team of eight professionals and architects. Founded in 2000, the practice represents its members’ desires to advance their own learning and cultural pathways. Studioata seeks stimuli and experiences, catalyzing energy to create new stimuli. Alongside its professional work, Studioata puts on cultural initiatives that include designing and staging exhibitions, making videos, holding conferences, and taking part in competitions and conferences. Studioata has been recognized as one of the most promising practices on the Italian scene. For Studioata, work is all about professionalism, curiosity, passion and enjoyment.
The people who make up Studioata are: Graciliano Berrocal Hernandez, Alessandro Cimanti, Elisa Dompè, Daniele Druella, Gian Luca Forestiero, Giulia Giammarco, Romina Musso, and Alberto Rosso.