Isola – Val Bregaglia –Switzerland
Can you tell us about the project ME house ? – (Isola 2013 – 2018)
The building is located in a small village at 1800 meters above sea level. To begin with, this was a fallow with no architectural value; in this area it is forbidden by law to build anything new, only refurbish existing structures. Its constructional condition was very poor and we had to make several structural adjustments. The building is divided into two separate spaces, the first is a stable with wooden beams, the second one is a tiny farmhouse where they used to make cheese.
One of the aims of the project was to create a connection between these two spaces but without being able to build anything new, we decided to build a basement. The stable on the ground floor has plastered walls whilst the upper floor walls have been clad with solid larch slats. The outside walls on the upper floor have been clad with rounded beams slightly spaced from each other. This used to be the barn and therefore it needed to be well ventilated and dry.
The roof is made of ‘piode’ stone which is obtained from granite slabs that are manually smashed and laid on the roof and supported by a wooden frame.
In the farmhouse, both on the ground floor and in the basement, the walls are clad with concrete, the formwork was built using 13cm thick boards in such a way to make the wood grain on the white cement visible. The floor is firstly hand brushed with a mix of lime mortar and marble dust and then with Marseille soap and olive oil so as to create a natural and protective patina. The outside walls have been brushed with handmade lime plaster. In the rounded parts there are small visible holes matching the internal chimney. I wanted to create a situation whereby in the evening, when the fireplace was lit, passers-by could see the fire.