Vigna Maggiore by Orma Architettura


Orma Architettura


David Giancatarina, Julien Kerdraon




Vigna Maggiore, Corsica, France


The site is located at the bottom of the village of Olmeto in southern Corsica, an ancient medieval village testifying to a strong minerality and a particular anchorage to the territory.
Overlooking the Valinco golf course, the site faces the city of Propriano and frames the Mediterranean Sea. It is a former hillside farmland that previously housed a vineyard and an olive grove.

This geographical location is exceptional first of all because of its proximity to the sea, which allows it to be swept away by the sailor, wind from the sea, causing a fine mist that the old hills could capture. In addition, its soil of remarkable quality has made it a particularly fertile area. Our reflection will be born from the toponymy of the place called «Vigna Maggiore», the most abundant vine, in order to reveal this ancient use which will be the origin of the project.

The project site reveals landscape qualities through its remarkable century-old trees (eucalyptus and Olivier), a framing on the sea, but also through a granite geological base offering an ochre tuff, source of inspiration. The preference was to fully realize the geography of the site becoming the raw material of the project.
Agriculture, being a deep part of the history of Corsica, constitutes tillage of the soil, of the land, with a view to crop production. In this historical continuity, the project was designed in stabilized and compacted earth concrete to tell the history of the site. The horizontal strata realized by the implementation of this material, visible on the facades, talk about the stratification of the ground as a kind of geological cut.

The project is born from the ground through a concrete site where the thickness becomes program and where the games of light, of shade, reveal each block and let us perceive the uses.
The material will then be dug, excavated in the thick part of the building while a light passageway, carried by thin centered posts, playing with the trees, comes to frame the sea and the landscape. A certain confusion then appears between architecture and nature which the alternation between concrete and metallic poles accentuates.

The tubular poles have been left uncoated and, as a result, blend in with the colour of the tree trunks, allowing them to disappear.
The perception of the building can be summed up as a sort of “austerity complex” oxymoron where the whole of the technique necessary for the operation of the equipment has been designed in such a way as to be totally imperceptible to the benefit of the material and its elementary nature.


The contracting authority whose order was poorly structured expressed a desire to characterize a place within a large property. The project will then create an enclave, capturing a fragment of landscape.

Little trained in architecture, the owner, as the exchanges progressed, knew to appropriate the story told through our intervention. The more time passed, the more he became an important ally in the realization of the project.

Each material is used in its own characteristics: site concrete for its compressive strength qualities, poured and reinforced concrete for its crossing potential.
The site concrete from all the waste material was installed by sample in order to meet the different technical, thermal and aesthetic expectations. The water composition, the choice of cement, the calibration of the aggregate extracted and sorted on site allowed us to compose a striated, smooth, altered material.

The removal of soil on site with the reuse of spoil reduces the transport and damage to the natural landscape. In addition, concrete-bonded earth provides walls with a thermal mass of high inertia, resulting in internal temperature regulation. Its use through 40 cm thick walls has allowed us to obtain thermal inertia in order to give preference to a summer comfort that meets uses.

The stabilized raw earth has been widely used in an ancestral way in Corsica for mortars linking stone masonry walls, bricks for partitions, floors but also terraced roofs. Currently abandoned in favour of standardisation of construction techniques, employment of this material allows to reconnect with the ancient vernacular crafts of this territory.
The use of brass for joinery and locksmiths comes by its patina both to match the ochre camaïeux offered by the site but also to qualify the minerality of the work.

Text provided by the architect

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