Villa A – Catane

project/ commission

Client : confidential

Surface : 700 m² + 500 m² exterior spaces

Type : residential

Status : realized

Budget : confidential

Year : 2011 -2013

Villa A is the result of a double intervention: the re-use and restructuring of an existing house and a new extension close to it. The project insists on the dialogue between these two realms as a metaphor of both a traditional and domestic intimacy and a contemporary and clear extroversion.

In fact, if the existing building conserves its closed and massive character, the new one  is transparent and luminous. If  the former  keeps  its original pitched-roof geometry and materials (mostly lava stone and wood)  the other plays with a minimal geometry and  more contemporary materials (steel and glass).

Moreover, in the old  structure the roof of many rooms has collapsed and we decided not to restore them to use them as internal patios to provide light and air to the entire complex.

This part is composed by a single level while the new one  is composed by two stories above ground and one below. At ground level in the old part there are a double-high kitchen with wooden beams , utility areas, and an independent dependence. In the extension the ground level is entirely occupied by a double level salon/dining completely transparent in all the directions  to benefit the views of the garden and the patios all around.

At the first floor of the new part there are three bedrooms each with its own bathroom and at the second floor there is another room with its own bathroom enjoying a solarium and a pensile garden with beautiful views of the sea. The below-ground floor hosts a multifunctional salon and utility areas.

The project is most of all characterized by an intentional environmental care. In the south of Italy the major problem is to protect a building from heath rather from the cold of its tempered winters. So the old complex benefits from the inertia of its thick walls while the façades of the villa employ  glasses with adequate solar and exterior curtains. On the roof the pensile garden plays its fundamental cooling role. Finally in the western side of the villa a shading/cooling wall has been conceived to protect the house. More generally sea breezes  coming from south slide over the pool creating a cooler microclimate in the site while natural ventilation has been enhanced in the house. The result is an extremely  low consumption of energy for air conditioning.

Particular attention has been given to the design of the  exterior spaces. The narrow geometry of the site, sloping down towards the sea has been emphasized by the long water mirror that becomes a swimming pool.  It starts from the stone wall of the kitchen’s patio of the and spans to the end of the garden to merge with the sea in front of it. The wall of the patio is cut with a single vertical slot to enhance the landscape from the kitchen and the patio, and from this slot a narrow passage leads to a solarium surrounded by water. Finally, the pool inherits the grey color of the sea beds of the region becoming part of the landscape For this reason it has been awarded the Italian Pool Award 2014.

Italian Pool Award 2014