Savona || Italy
Marco Ciarlo has designed a seaside residence in Bergeggi (Savona province) looking out across the Mediterranean from the slopes of the western Ligurian coastline. He began with the values discernible in the landscape and implicit in the endless sea views from high up above the coast since these are what fix and change one's perception of the area and the composition of the living spaces. The architecture forms part of the process of building the landscape, creating an explicit yet discrete presence that is consistent with human habitation, but also subtle in interpreting the interrelation with nature. The slope has steps leading down to the sea and the terraces with their stone retaining walls form a link to a solid building tradition. The villa spreads across a terrace, using a layout based on horizontal lines deliberately imposed on the
lines that characterise this landscape. The building is on three storeys - linked by both a lift and a staircase - with a progressive variation in how much one can see and relate to the outside as one moves from the basement level, to the garden level with above-ground windows and the most striking volume of all, the upper storey with its interaction with the broad sea views. The middle storey has a hallway, off which are the accessory rooms and the night area, with two bedrooms. The two nuclei differ in character. The eastern side of the villa, where the sleeping area is located, is clad with wood slats that stand out against the plastered façades. The lift tower, also clad with wood slats, rises separately up to the roof terrace. The accessory rooms are half hidden by a stone wall that recalls that retaining walls, with openings to allow
space for the windows. The upper storey is completely above ground, with a living and dining area and a kitchen. A corridor runs along the façade, creating another social space. The trapezoidal layout means the rooms become progressively smaller until one reaches the section with the stairs and the lift. The upper storey is also the area that epitomises the link between the architecture and the landscape. The full-length, continuous glazing opening onto the loggia covers this entire side of the building, framed by walls and roofing, defining the living area. The spaces expand and the sheltered loggia becomes an extension of the living rooms, creating a horizontal sign that marks the living areas and suggests continuity between indoors and outdoors. This is reflected in the use of colours and materials for the floors, with parquet inside
and wood slats outside on the loggia. The loggia's glass parapet makes it seem like one can touch the maritime horizon that stretches out below, unhindered by visual barriers. The top floor terrace - the roof for the sleeping area - and the wooden walkways lead to the pool on the eastern side of the villa. Here too, one's gaze can reach out to the sea.
Location: Bergeggi, Savona
Gross Floor Area: 180 m2
Architects: Marco Ciarlo Associati
Structural: Sergio Fenoglio
Plant: Alberto Pera
Photo by: © Alberto Piovano
Ciarlo was born in Savona in 1961. After time spent with master glass craftsmen Alfio, Amanzio and Augusto Bormioli, and attending the ‘Arturo Martini’ Liceo Artistico, he graduated in architecture in Genoa under Giuliano Forno, with whom he collaborated in urban design courses while still a student.
In 1988 he embarked upon his career under Teobaldo Rossigno, while simultaneously collaborating with Paolo Stringa on important European Community projects for the restoration of historic urban centres. He later worked with Brunetto De Battè.
In 1993 he entered an on-going collaboration with the architects Fabrizio Melano and Giampiero Negro, which led to the establishment in 2004 of Marco Ciarlo Associati, which is a member of the Agenzia Italiana di Architettura (Aid’a).
In the second half of the nineties, the studio’s projects began to be featured in major architectural magazines. In 2004, the online magazine Parametro devoted a monograph to the firm’s early years. In 2007, Brescia-based association InArch organized a solo exhibition of the firm’s work in the Eiaudi Library exhibition space, curated by Giorgio Goffi. In 2008, Libria published a monograph, by Giovanni Leoni, in its ‘About’ series that featured twelve of the firm’s major works. In early 2012, Electa released Architetture, Luoghi e Paesaggi. Marco Ciarlo Mulazzani, as part of its ‘Documenti di Architettura series. Written by Brunetto De Battè, the book features a foreword by Francesco Dal Co and photography by Alberto Piovano.