House of Silvia (2020)

The site of the house is in Tuscany in a hilly area near Florence surrounded by an olive grove and a vineyard. The slope slopes towards the south overlooking the surrounding landscape.

The house also combines housing needs with those related to a collection of works of art mostly sculptures. The fulcrum of the entire spatial composition is therefore the gallery, in which the collection is exhibited, which has an “S” shape, initial of the owner’s name and which also represents the continuation of the dirt road leading to the existing fund. The tunnel with its “S” shape also allows you to connect the jump in altitude due to the slope of the ground.

House of Silvia

Project Details

Three residential areas, the garage and two courtyards are grafted around the gallery.

The three residential areas are designed as terraces overlooking the landscape, a real belvedere, even when inside the house. The first nucleus facing west on one level contains the kitchen, related services and accommodation for the service staff. The second nucleus facing south is the main one, on two levels: the upper one with dining room and library with the void of the double volume of the living room in the center; the lower one in addition to the aforementioned living room contains the bedrooms, their bathrooms and a cellar in the basement under the gallery. The third level facing east contains a gym, a spa and an additional guest room.

The gallery also encloses two courtyards with its shape. One is used not only for domestic activities but also for the display of works of art outdoors and for small theatrical performances, for musical events or film screenings. The other instead encloses the swimming pool.

The roofs of the three residential blocks will be of the “green roof” type both for reasons of insertion into the context and to improve passive performance in terms of cooling and heating of the buildings. The large glass surfaces will be made with double glazing with Venetian blinds interposed inside to protect the interior from summer radiation. A further screening is provided with roller blinds. The systems include both manual and electronic control. Finally, a geothermal system is envisaged with underground pipes at a depth between 1.50 and 3.00 m which exploit the constant temperature of the ground, to contribute to both winter heating and summer cooling.

The genesis of form and structure

The openings of the tunnel were processed using the Grasshopper software for Rhino and in particular the Ladybug plug-in which made it possible to determine the solar radiation incident on the tunnel in the period of greatest thermal load from 21 April to 21 September. Starting from a division into hexagonal cells with the software, the size of the openings was determined based on solar radiation, reducing their width, where its incidence on the surface, was greater and instead leaving them larger where it was smaller.

For the gallery it is assumed that it will be built in the workshop with hexagonal panels of structural plywood with a steel core. The drilling of the panels to make the different openings would be done with numerical control machines directly with CAM files. An insulating layer and a covering layer will be placed on the external face. The hexagonal panels will be hooked together with metal brackets. Various logs will be made in the workshop which will then be transported and assembled on site.

The shape of the three housing blocks always arose from the use of the Grasshopper software with the Kangaroo plug-in which made it possible to identify the ideal catenary for having most of the compressive stresses and consequently optimize the sizing of the structures. The supporting structure will be made with a lattice of glulam beams.