Cervo || Italy
The design for Villa B foregrounded the importance of the site and the value of the surrounding landscape, sitting in a luxury neighbourhood on the western coast of Liguria designed back in the 1960s by Leonardo Mosso - an architect who worked with Alvar Aalto. It was essential for the project to highlight the amazing location through the skilful combination of landscape and architecture. The hilly morphology meant this detached house had to be sited on a steep slope, looking down over the old town of Cervo. Terracing is a fundamental part of the built environment that, in combination with the nature of the supporting walls, symbolises the centuries-old local building culture. It is no surprise that how these walls develop is central to understanding the local territory and an essential trait of the design. The steep slopes are characterised
by the horizontal terrace lines that define the Ligurian landscape and, consequently, are a key feature of this project. The mastery is how the villa gently and perfectly incorporates the highly evident horizontal lines that underlie the landscape layout, making this movement the basis and the terrace walls an element of choice.
The design also had to harmonize the height of the villa with the formation of the hill terraces. The two floors and the terrace roof are perfectly aligned with the landscape terraces. The building never exceeds the height of the terraces and does not block the view from the road above or that of the other houses, highlighting the enormous importance placed on the landscape and the general layout of the area. The pre-existing terraced walls are so perfectly incorporated into the structure that they become
a defining trait, part of the ground-floor exterior wall. At the same time, the stone wall marks the interior visual limit and supports the living spaces on the upper floors.
Transparency adds something new and fundamental. Glazed doors on the ground floor allow the gaze both in and out, creating a dynamic relationship between the centrality of the sitting room and the internal stone wall, and highlighting the staircase parallel to the wall that leads up to the top floor (with three bedrooms). Thus, the stairs become a focal point and a wonderful example of elegance and sophistication, marked by the clarity of the construction and the combination of materials, i.e. iron and crystal. The design is very eloquent in stressing a form of design that combines elements to make them alive, incremental factors of elegance in living. The stairs
are suspended, parallel to the wall, with partially transparent steps that, with the uprights and supporting joints, help create a solid yet light structure. Detachment adds to the elegance of these iron and crystals stairs, with three wooden steps used to separate them from the flooring (also in wood). In a sense, it is like a step-pedestal that leads up the architectural core of the suspended stairs.
Crystal and iron are also used for the upper gangway that runs parallel to the stone wall, magnifying the translucent effect and emphasizing the density of the material of the wall. This almost turns the wall into a sculpture highlighted by the sequence of spotlights embedded in the floor.
The upper level is the sleeping area, separated from the rest of the house by a glazed wall and plastered side walls. The roof is a sun terrace.
The architecture is highlighted by a system of columns and top beams that become a sort of cymatium moulding for the villa. The trabeation protrudes slightly, extending from the volume of the sleeping area and resting on a column at the edge of the pool. The effect is to create an architectural frame that helps give depth to this space, making it a virtual extension of the villa.
Location: Cervo, Imperia
Gross Floor Area: 210 m2
Architect: Studiorossi architettura - Mario Clemente Rossi, Eleonora Secco
Design Team: Katia Carli, Cristina Gagliolo, Tamara Martini
Works Management: Mario Clemente Rossi
Contractor: Ardissone Costruzioni
Structural: G.Saguato SALP
Geological: L. Belmonte
Mechanical Systems: G. Anselmo
Electrical Systems: G. Rebuttato
Lighting: Davide Groppi, Guzzini, Ingo Maurer
Glass Stair, Bridge and Balusters: Grazi Cristalli
Windows: Finstral Fenster
Doors: Mazzucco, Ferrero Legno
Olive Wood Floors: Tolin Parquet
Travertine Floors: Formaggini Travertini
Pool: Culligan Piscine
Sanitary Ware: Duravit
Photography: © Alberto Piovano, courtesy Studiorossi
Established in 1954 in Genoa by Luigi O Rossi, Studiorossi Architettura is currently headed by Mario C Rossi and Eleonora Secco, and based in Imperia. The practice is involved in various areas of architecture but with a particular focus on domestic and public spaces.
Studiorossi represented Italy at the Italy Now exhibition in Tokyo and at the 2011 World Congress of Architecture.
The studio was selected for the first stage of the international competition for the design of a multipurpose public space in Savona organized by the Savona Port Authority (2003) and the first stage of the international competition for the redevelopment of the port-city interface in Marina di Carrara, organized by the Marina di Carrara Port Authority (2003). It also received a special mention in the international competition for the design of a new school complex in Albenga, organized by the Savona Province government (2008), and fourth place in an international competition for the restoration of barracks and the construction of a new school complex (2010). The studio’s work has been featured in numerous publications, including Almanacco di Casabella (2008), Ottagono (2009), Casabella Web (2011), Design Context (2013), and ADM (2013).
Studiorossi was among the speakers at the conference ‘Architects Meet in Selinunte_L’architettura che verrà’, held in Selinunte (2013).
Mario C. Rossi graduated from Genoa university’s faculty of architecture, supervised by Guido Campodonico and Francesco Venezia. He worked with RPBW and Lorenzo Garaventa’s sculpture workshop. He was a teaching assistant under Guido Campodonico and Enrico Davide Bona in courses in architectural design at Genoa’s faculty of architecture, and coordinated an international architectural design workshop in Cervo. Rossi is a member of the AIAC (Associazione Italiana di Architettura e Critica).
Eleonora Secco graduated from Genoa university’s faculty of architecture, supervised by Marco Romano and Enrico Davide Bona, with whom she later worked as a tutor. Together with Marco Romano, she took part in the tenth Biennale of Architecture in Venice. She has worked with the architecture practices ARCHICAMMplus and Marco Ciarlo Associati, for which she edited the catalogue Electa. Secco is a member of the AIAC (Associazione Italiana di Architettura e Critica).