Caldesini by Rocco Borromini


Rocco Borromini

Marcello Mariana




Anghiari, Italy

Rocco Borromini, in this intervention on two ancient rural buildings located in the middle of the Tuscan countryside, has wisely blended and created a balance between past and present.

The intervention involved the renovation of three ancient rural buildings in the Arezzo countryside, near Anghiari.The project, as a whole, was based on the desire to respect the pre-existing structures, trying to maintain the link between the place and the building, starting from the assumption that this link existed as always for rural architectures. These architectures “without architects”, as Bernard Rudofsky calls them, teach how delicate an intervention can be if there is historical awareness and territorial rooting and can be inspiration for a modernity that has strong links with history or rather its a natural evolution , a method that I consider the only one possible in places where human intervention is still very limited.There are three main bodies, a body originally used as a dwelling and a stable for cows, a body originally used as a barn-pigsty, and a body used for storage. In addition to these, the complex includes another small building that has been completely rebuilt because it collapsed and three hectares of land, partly lawn and partly destined for olive groves and vineyards. On the outside the only added elements are the infinity pool, completely covered in natural stone, with a panoramic view of the hills and a stone path that connects the various parts of the house.

The first building has two entrances, one on the ground floor and one on the first floor, being partly recessed in the slope of the natural terrain. The woodshed is placed at the northern entrance of this body, immediately beyond the house the dining room with the fireplace, the walls in local stone are the result of a careful restoration, the roof beams are in antique recovered oak, an handmade trowelled cement have been chosen for the floor. Connected to the dining room, the home kitchen is organized around a central design steel island that incorporates burners, sink and worktop, with stainless steel shelves on which an ancient stone sink is placed, on the ground cement tiles of recovery of Florentine origin. The living area next to the dining room is also characterized by high local stone walls and antique oak beams. The connecting staircase between the two floors of the main house, which were not connected except by a small trap door, is then inserted into a room obtained from the demolition of part of the slab and is composed of a natural iron profile detached from the walls perimeter, embellished with a small brass handrail and a large sculptural ceiling lamp. The landing on the lower floor, where we find the private rooms preceded by a living room, is characterized by a floor in natural split natural stone chosen indiscriminately for indoor and outdoor to cancel the boundaries. The bathroom serving the bedroom is completely covered in hand-trowelled cement and features a cast-in-place shelf as a graphic sign to indicate the position of the ancient manger. The master bedroom occupies part of what was the stable, the original brick vaults were preserved thanks to a restoration intervention which combined the conservative will with the requirements of adaptation to the anti-seismic regulations.The second building, once used as a barn and pigsty, consists of two levels now occupied by three bedrooms. Also in this case the exterior retains the original architectural features. As for the intervention as a whole, it was considered important to intervene in respect of the compositional and material characteristics, studying the peculiarities of the territory, acting punctually to preserve what could be conserved, making a deep research on traditional materials and inserting limited elements of contrast. For example, the roofs, intended as a structure and coatings, have been completely redone in compliance with the limited original thicknesses, adopting various measures to keep the aesthetics of the facades unchanged.

In the specific case of the barn, on the upper floor, the brickwork racks have been rebuilt according to tradition, using ancient material and obtaining from the restoration of what was a very comfortable filtered light, often sought after in the current architecture. For the covering we chose an ancient spruce that goes well with the original truss. The bedroom that occupies the entire upper floor is characterized by a homogeneous resin surface that completely covers the floors and the central bathroom block, making them a single body, in contrast with the perimeter walls in rasopietra and with the ancient wood of the roof .The third and the last reconstructed building respectively contain a workshop for the manufacture of ceramics and a technical lease at the service of the pool. Both were treated with the same philosophy that characterized the entire intervention.Particular attention has been given to internal and external artificial lighting, the choice is characterized by a few elements, a very warm light and the desire to alternate areas that require scenographic lighting with shaded areas.

Text provided by the architect

THE TREE MAG – The Fruits of Ideas