Giarre || Italy
Etna and the Ionian sea are the landmarks in this landscape. The design for this villa has a series of purposes and goals: open up sweeping views through the full height windows and curved loggias of this very landscape; introduce a fascinating interaction between the materials and the texture of the walls, between the roughness of stone and the gentleness of the plastered walls (drawing on the local building tradition, lava stone is used in abundance, often for decorative rather than simply functional purposes); merge the actual building into the garden by expanding it.
This is achieved by building solid "landscape" relationships, starting with the areas immediately outside the building and then expanding them towards the Mediterranean flora that is such an ever present visual feature.
The villa is built on a sloping plot and the difference in levels is embedded in the concept of the house. The basement and upper floor wind along the land and help form visual and landscape "pathways" that translate into separate sections of the house. The key geometric element is the use curved walls that act like a cue to create ever changing backdrops.
This helps create dynamic relief to adapt to the differences in level and to forge relations with the vegetation, forming ideal spots for secluded meditation. Similarly, the interaction between the different parallelepiped volumes and the curving walls reveals complex interior spaces. The living area can expand to encompass the kitchen and it opens onto the curvy patio, where different perspectives merge to form theatrical scenery that forces the viewer to look at the natural landscape, where light and air are the dominant features. The whole concept of this villa is centred on the dual presence of architecture and nature.
The building establishes perfectly equivalent relationships, enclosing central cores, making explicit glimpses, and framing opposing volumes that provide separation. A concrete wall fences in the property, with a large gate in cor-ten panels. Inside the garden, stonewalls, pathways paved with lava stone and surfaces with a blend of stones form a layout of lovely, complex spaces that link to the villa.
The interior spaces offer many different perspectives. The living area expands, opening up the whole building. This contrasts with the seclusion that shrouds the bedroom area. A niche volume, which contains and hides the stairs, becomes almost a functional fragment, adding expression.
Location: Giarre, Catania
Gross Floor Area: 280 m2
Architects: Scau Studio − Angelo Vecchio
Design Team: Antonella Virzì
Works Management: Scau Studio − Angelo Vecchio
Contractor: Co.Gi.F. Coop − D'Aquino N.
Structural: Carmelo Lanzafame
Window Fixtures: Cardillo Serramenti, ASA Società Cooperativa
Marble: Trombetta Marmi
Photography: 1/9 © Scau Studio, 10/12 © Ram Giner, 13/15 © Moreno Maggi
Architectural and urban planning practice Scau Studio was established in 1980. In 2002 it obtained ISO 9001 certification.
The firm's multidisciplinary approach has blossomed over the years, bringing about a high level of expertise in the areas of architecture, restoration, interior design, and landscaping.
Partners Angelo Di Mauro, Angelo Vecchio, Koncita Santo, and Alfio Cavallaro work with a team of architects, engineers, and other specialized professionals. Handling every aspect from design through to construction on both public and private projects, the team combines years of experience with cutting-edge technologies.
Scau Studio sets out to evolve and adapt the design process by using the latest technologies, identifying the right solution for every architectural challenge, and by guiding clients through the complexities of the decision-making process to arrive at a shared vision.
The firm always focuses on integrating designs with their surrounding landscape through gaining a deep understanding of the local heritage and its most salient aspects, creating open, light-filled spaces with a strong connection with outdoors, and choosing sustainable technologies that minimize environmental impact.