Casa Al by VPS Architetti

Casa Al is a wonderful conventional farmhouse situated in Castelmuzio, Italy, redesigned in 2019 by VPS Architetti.

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The farmhouse is situated close to the historic centre of Castelmuzio, a small village in Val d’Orcia alongside the highway resulting in Pienza. It’s nestled midway up a hillside and appears in the direction of the parish church of S. Anna in Camprena, a former Fifteenth-century Benedictine Monastery whose refectory has a splendid cycle of frescoes (1503) by Antonio Bazzi, often called Il Sodoma, and the place Anthony Minghella filmed some scenes of ‘The English Affected person’.

The unique farm constructing, whose typological traits and building strategies appear thus far to the second half of the nineteenth century, was topic to subsequent additions and alterations till the Fifties.

The undertaking for the primary constructing and separate guesthouse tailored the buildings to the consumer’s necessities by spatially redistributing and reinterpreting the interiors and introducing new mechanical methods with out rising or altering the present volumes and with out altering the unique architectural options of the façades, regulated by panorama safety codes.

The orientation, view and relationships between the interiors and the encircling areas guided the primary design selections.

On the bottom ground, the south facet was chosen as the most effective orientation for actions like eating and kitchen – well-lit through the winter and in direct contact, by way of French doorways, with the open-air house in entrance of the eating room and kitchen. This house overlooks the valley and the Pieve, and turns into a paved terrace shaded by surrounding bushes; it’s used as an outside eating/dwelling space. The doorway, with the staircase to the primary ground, is situated to the west in relation to the brand new entry to the property; it additionally has a south-facing window with a view over the valley. On the north facet is the big former steady house – now the lounge with fire and two French doorways opening to the outside and two home windows to the east and west, respectively. The lounge is related by a big inside opening and a few steps to the eating are in order that south gentle can enter through the winter. The north-facing exterior house was created by containing and terracing the uphill slope. The paved courtyard is accessible by way of the 2 French doorways, just about increasing the lounge outside in good climate. It’s significantly shady, cool and nice through the warmest summer season months. On the east, the present exterior stair was prolonged with a ramp in cor-ten metal to permit direct entry to one of many bedrooms situated on the very best stage, distinguishing it from the present stair. On the east facet of the bottom ground is a small paved open-air house outlined by the outside staircase, the bread/pizza oven and the small farm outbuilding transformed right into a wine cellar.

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On the primary ground is the grasp ‘suite’ with a examine, bed room, lavatory and walk-in wardrobe. It faces south, overlooking the Pieve, and east, with two home windows that permit the morning solar to wash the house. The opposite bedrooms face east and west respectively.

The farmhouse was constructed at totally different instances. The primary half, characterised by a hipped roof, is actually the oldest. At a later date. a decrease construction with a single-pitch roof was added on the west facet, as was the outside staircase on the facet and, in more moderen years – given the constructing traits – the rear two-level construction with a gable roof. The annexes on the east appear to have been constructed similtaneously the outside staircase, whereas the barn on the west appears to have been constructed similtaneously the more moderen extension.

The heterogeneity of all these totally different elements with totally different traits needed to be taken into consideration in figuring out the brand new spatial and purposeful programme.

Because of the presence of a big exterior arched opening and its plan and volumetric traits, the west construction – a comparatively slender house when it comes to space and peak – was reinterpreted as a double-height entry house with a visual staircase. The brand new entrance results in a sequence of openings whose axis crosses the farmhouse, connecting the assorted inside areas each preceptively and functionally and to the 2 open areas to the west and east. The staircase results in a “bridge” overlooking one other double-height house situated virtually on the constructing’s centre, akin to a “quadrant” of the hipped roof. This bridge results in the grasp ‘suite’ and, with some steps, to the 2 bedrooms and a toilet and, through one other staircase, to a small examine within the highest a part of the construction with a view to the parish church.

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The façades and roofs had been handled conservatively utilizing supplies and methods belonging to native custom. The brand new home windows, along with the present ones, had been partly obtained from reopening current walled-in home windows and openings, and partly from new openings, obligatory for the right use of a few of the rooms, respecting conventional kinds and proportions.

Pictures by studio_vetroblu

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– by Matt Watts