Bologna || Italy
This villa, designed by Giraldi Associati Architetti, lies on the outskirts of Pieve di Cento, in a relatively spacious and unremarkable setting, making it a standout building in the area. The two-storey house uses the layout of volumes and materials to create a distinctive construction marked by a balance between linearity and complexity. The different sections are given a refined appearance in which connections between elements are fundamental, at times achieved through juxtaposition.
Exposed reinforced concrete is essential to the appearance of the northern side, with smooth square sections and rough vertical bands, drawing on the compactness and density of the material.
The tall, narrow openings are placed symmetrically, with two upper floor windows and two glazed doors on the ground floor. These doors provide direct access, respectively, to the kitchen and the corridor running next to the kitchen/dining area that visually extends onto the south-facing patio.
Glazed walls are the defining feature of the western elevation, practically taking up the entire lower floor that is framed by reinforced concrete. On the upper storey, the glazing around the living room creates a focal point, especially the section looking out onto the terrace that is covered by a wooden pergola that extends the room outwards. On this western façade, wooden beams protrude slightly, while on the eastern side, they project further.
The southern side has a more composite look, with the different volumes, building materials and cladding highlighted in combination with the use of open and covered space. A solid exposed concrete wall marks the end of the ground-floor living room and is followed by an open patio and then a patio covered by the volume that houses the main bedroom on the upper floor. This seemingly separate building has a touch of a pile-dwelling structure that helps make it very evident. On its southern side, the ventilated, windowless wall is clad with horizontal wooden panels that, through the use of relief, create a tight woven feel. On the patio and external-facing sides, the adjustable wooden sunscreens and the exposed supporting pillars add to the formal complexity that is key to a layout centred on connections between materials.
In the same theme, Cor-ten is used as cladding, while glass is favoured for the parapets, helping to magnify the architectonic effects.
The combination of deliberately expressive excess and points of abstraction are what ultimately define the architecture of this villa. The powerful visual focus on the volumes and functions from the outside is matched - in the search for a weighted unity - by the interior architecture. Different materials are used specifically to bring an overall expressive quality to the design. The heart of the interior is marked by the exposed concrete partition wall along which rise the stairs. This feature plays a particular role on the ground floor, defining the use of space, and creating divisions and connections.
This sharp, smooth element is contrasted with the material and colour of the facebrick walls between the dining and living areas (where the stairs start, creating a further weave of elements). The interior is also characterised by the use of exposed beams and the Cor-ten cladding for the chimney flue that stands out against the facebrick wall (the cladding extends to the exterior). The furnishings are both baroque and minimalist, while the use of white creates a contrast with the coloured objects. In essence, architectural experimentation continues inside, effectively bringing unity to spaces, volumes, materials and furnishings.
Location: Pieve di Cento, Bologna
Gross Floor Area: 230 m2
Architects: Giraldi Associati Architetti - Fulvio Giraldi, Diego Lucesole, Federica Sordi, Daniela Girelli
Works Management: Alessandro Dalu, Pier Paolo Carta
Structural: Valerio Alecci
Technical Systems: Beta Progetti
Furniture: Baxter, B&B, Cassina, Lema
Doors: Lualdi Porte, Rimadesio
Ceramic Flooring: Corà, Iris Ceramica
Bathroom Fixtures: Scarabeo
Tapware: Rubinetterie F.lli Frattini
Sanitary Equipment: Lasa Idea
Lighting: Luceplan, Reggiani Illuminazione
Ceramic Flooring: Iris Ceramica
Shower Tray: Duravit
Photography: © Francesca Anichini
Giraldi Associati Architetti
Fulvio Giraldi opened his first architectural practice in 1997 in Florence, where he established professional relationships with the fashion industry that continue to this day. The firm quickly grew, and in 2006 Giraldi set up Giraldi Associati Architetti, which now includes its founding member, nine partners, thirteen associates, and six external consultants. Besides its Florentine headquarters, the practice operates offices in Berlin (which chiefly focuses on projects in Germany and northern Europe) and Doha (Middle Eastern projects), and has a representative office in Los Angeles.
Well known today for concept design and corporate image development for Italian and international clients, GAA has designed and built more than three thousand boutiques, showrooms, and offices around the world. The practice is also active in the design and construction of hotels, office buildings, resorts, private houses, and cultural projects.