In Vignolo, in the Stura Valley, a wood and glass house emerges from the ground like a shoot perfectly integrated into the beauty of the beech, chestnut and birch woods in which it is immersed. In the distance, the splendid setting of the Bisalta and Monviso mountains, facing the view of a valley. An extraordinary example of landscape-sensitive architecture, the building has transformed the limitations imposed by the conformation of the land into opportunities for beauty. This is how the house structure, completely surrounded by greenery, was subverted, sabotaged so that nature was free to enter and be part of it.
“We wanted to capture the fluid shapes of nature that surrounds us in every room, especially in the long living room and kitchen” – say the owners Emiliano and Lorena, third generation of a family that works and trades mushrooms and truffles ”.
“The house rests delicately on the softness of the slope – explains architect Dario Castellino – without invading or oppressing, rather as if merging with the ground. We could have contained the land with reinforced concrete terraces, but this was certainly not the goal, we rather wanted the design to enhance the area and for the green to envelop the house “.
The house was born on a portion of land originally occupied by two structures whose profile – together with that of the old brick farmhouse that has been recovered – has been maintained in the gabled roofs of the two rectangular bodies that make up the house: one to the south, characterized by long windows and intended for daytime living, the other to the north, to accommodate the bedrooms and connected to the first by a passage that forms a central body closed to the outside gaze and where the services are accessories, such as bathrooms and laundry.
The designer’s inspiration is inspired both by the owner Emiliano’s passion for the architecture of Japanese houses and by the characteristic shapes of mountain houses. From the oriental inspiration, the building derives the delicacy and almost philosophical balance of the structure that does not impose itself, but adapts itself to the landscape, resting docilely on the slope of the valley. Three long glass walls in the body of the building welcome all the light – and the shadow – of the hill “without the all-western need to flush out the last particle of shadow with lamps” as the Japanese writer Junichiro Tanizaki wrote.
The long wooden beams inserted on the two walls to connect the heads of the beams that rest on them and to distribute the load are born from the inspiration of an Alpine matrix. The living room is a long nave that leads to the kitchen, opening onto the terrace overlooking endless fields and where, again, a solution that does not stop the gaze has been chosen: a thin railing of steel cables on a structure that it literally appears suspended in the air. Japan returns in the sliding French doors which like shoji – vertical panels mounted on grooves in the floor and in the architrave – allow an uninterrupted relationship with the external spaces, from which they never completely divide.
A wrought iron pergola joins the main structure to the completely renovated old farmhouse which gives the house a touch of originality and tradition thanks to its roof redone with the trunks of the old buildings, cleaned and restored like the bricks and fixtures, returned to new life.
With radon-proof insulated foundation slabs, insulating materials such as cork and wood fiber certified by IBR (Institute für Baubiologie Rosenheim), breathable wooden walls that trigger natural ventilation through the continuous exchange of humidity with the external environment, resins such as natural glues, controlled mechanical ventilation systems to maintain a high quality of the air by expelling the stale one and introducing it again after having previously filtered it from pollutants, the Rubner Haus houses are the last frontier of an experience of over 55 years in which tradition and the most modern technologies become the science of building in wood respecting the health and well-being of people and the environment.
Rubner Haus is the Rubner Group company specializing in single and two-family houses. Sustainability and environmental responsibility are a characteristic of the brand, intimately connected to its raw material: wood, a 100% natural and eco-sustainable material. Rubner wood, in particular, comes from controlled deforestation alpine areas that extend for 150km around the group’s sawmill in Austria. To date, RUBNER HAUS has built more than 25,000 buildings.
Text provided by the architect