Soprabolzano || Italy
The magnificence of the Dolomites dominates the landscape that surrounds these two adjacent villas. And this setting is central to the construction, using the sweeping views and integration into the built environment as key elements.
Once a stone quarry, the traditional vocation of this spot provided both cultural and compositional input for the construction, forming a structure of multiple, interlinked layers across both villas that results in intersections and similarities. The physical shape of the land is also fundamental in the design, with the units intersecting on different, staggered floors.
This allows each house to be divided differently - creating separate emotive and functional connotations - across the storeys, but starting from uniform ideas, especially open, glazed full height elevations on the front side to allow views of the most visually imposing parts of the landscape. Such a compositional approach strongly influences both the placement of the glazed façades and the corresponding internal living areas.
These houses are also an exploration of contemporary shapes and deeply-rooted ideas in the search for creative interpretations of how a house can be lived in.
Inside, the vertical connections in each unit are central to such an idea. The subtly expressive result is clearest in the elegant metal staircases, with wooden steps, enclosed by vertical metal rods forming a "visually permeable parapet". Liberating the stairs like this adds an evident, poetic touch that helps define and compose the open space of the living areas.
The lower level in each house is for the bedrooms, although the height of this storey differs in each unit.
The choice of materials is also important, with the stone that rises up from the ground and the minimal use of windows on these walls a clear allusion to the dry walls that abound in Alpine environments, partly because of the historical nature of farming here. Above this base that uses stone as a cultural reference and building material rise the offset prism-shaped volumes with pitched roofs. The use of wooden roof and wall tiles makes wood another key material choice, especially as it changes with time. In turn, this plays into the idea of cultural and technical tradition in a contemporary design.
Overall, this helps produce simple volumes that stand out for the essential lines of the silhouette. But when the building is examined in detail, the effect is far more of minute elements woven together in a composition built on the perception of differences and contrasts that are brought together through the design process.
Gross Floor Area: 650 m2
Structural: Herbert Mayer
Wood Flooring: Lobis Böden
Ceramic and Stone Coverings: Nikolaus Bagnara
Windows: Südtirol Fenster, Finstral
Doors: Intern Element
Steel Stairs: Metal Concept
Garage Doors: Mortec Tooor
Photography: © Alex Filz
noa* is the essential expression of a conceptual approach to the job of architecture and design. Under the direction of founding partners, Lukas Rungger and Stefan Rier, and based in Bolzano (Italy), this young team of architects and designers explores interdisciplinary design methods, which constantly evolve to meet the demands of each project.
Likewise, the team involved on projects is formed and evolves so as to bring innovative solutions to varying interdisciplinary challenges. In fact, noa* has been conceived as a platform for architects, interior designers, graphic designers, and fashion designers, as well as musicians and historians, so as to dynamically harness resources and specialized skills in various fields.
Following the philosophy of emergence, according to which the whole is greater than the sum of its parts, a holistic approach and strategy are at the heart noa*’s perception of design. In this way, classic design becomes more complex, richer, and more powerful.
The starting point of any project is an analysis of the nature of the site, with the interaction with that informing the underlying design philosophy. The choice of materials, the definition of the essence of the building, and a conscious relationship with its setting are all guiding principles for noa*.
By listening to what the client has to say, their ideas are translated into architecture. Then, only after devoting time to getting to know the site, feeling its atmosphere, and taking into account of all the local circumstances can thinking, planning, and designing begin.
With ten years of local and international experience, noa* is constantly changing and growing all over the world.