Bolzano || Italy
The quaint village of Novacella nestles in the Vahrn municipality of South Tyrol. The mystical, impressive abbey is a local gem, founded in 1142 by Bishop Hartmann of Bressanone. Today the complex is home to the Canons Regular who live according to St. Augustine's rule. An old farmhouse - or maso, to use the local word - lies slightly above the monastery's vineyard. It is owned by a family of wine-growers, who recently decided to extend and refurbish it.
The new villa, embracing the traditional maso, merges seamlessly into this Alpine landscape, accentuating the integral connection between land and building in this valley filled with vineyards, constructions, terraces and slopes. Here, human presence blends easily into the mountainous Alps.
The different levels of the plot were initially key traits of the design and eventually become its hallmark. The north side of the villa hugs the line of the slope, as the two above-ground floors stretch into an articulated, fragmented volume, with many intersections integrating into the environment that morphs into an organically creative evolution. The effect is of a building rising from the earth. A thorough topographical study, accounting for every rise and drop, was the basis for molding the building, turning a potentially heavy monolith into a sculpted structure that rests, rather than weighs, on the earth. It is a lovely example of bilateral interaction between landscape and architecture. Two volumes jointly define the composition, intersecting to forge an internal courtyard.
The one is a parallelepiped clad in natural stone, while the other is a vibrant, multifaceted, concrete-clad volume with sloping elevations, terraces and windows. Inside, an elegant, brutalist style is evident, with a combination of concrete and wooden paneling and partitions that also play a structural role. The organization of the interiors mirrors the adaptation to the terrain.
The access to the upper floor leads to a series of living spaces at different levels that precisely look out onto the sloping landscape, creating a different interaction between each interior environment and the outside. For example, in some rooms, the windows are visibly small, while others have sweeping sliding doors leading onto the terrace.
The privacy of the internal courtyard disappears into the grand, open garden, with the terrace and swimming pool almost hugged by the vineyards. The composition is not driven by a precise set of rules, but exploits the interplay of heights, views and volumes to expand and compress the space, the openings and the relationships with the exterior. The progression from the villa to the surrounding landscape is slow, almost making this construction an addition to nature that completes and redesigns the landscape.
Location: Strada Val Pusteria, Novacella I, 39040, Varna, (BZ), Italia
Client: Günther Kerschbaumer
Gross Floor Area: 510 m2
Architects: bergmeisterwolf architekten
Design Team: Marina Gousia
Structural Engineering: Schrentewein & Partner
Security: Franz Schrott
Electrical Installations: Electro Faller
Roofing, Concrete Partitions: Oberegger
Lighting: Halothech Lichtfabrik
Bathroom Fixtures: Agape, Ceadesign
Doors and Windows: Wolf Artec
Wood Partitions: Lignoalp
Furnishing, Doors and Windows: barth Innenausbau
Bathroom Fittings: Ceadesign
Photography: © Gustav Willeit, © Jürgen Eheim
Architecture is a process of development for bergmeisterwolf architekten, a constant analysis and research, a further modeling and shaping of texture. They focus on the understanding and realization of pictures, forms and landscapes, a comprehension of the place. “You shall not build on one place, but you shall build the place”.
Each project is seen as a series of positive “tensions” between the builders and architects, generating an informal approach to space, materials and color. The studio’s architecture often focuses on simple experiences. An initial impression of simplicity will always create the feeling that something is already known, that it already exists, so that its energies aren’t in conflict with anything else. Bergmeisterwolf architekten’s goal is to find these synergies.
The firm collected numerous awards and accolades, has won many competitions and has played an important role in numerous workshops. Gerd Bergmeister and Michaela Wolf have been invited to lecture in Italy and Europe,often act as jurors and have contributed to many publications.