The Casa MF is located on a hillside overlooking Trento, between a residential urban area, characterised chiefly by detached houses, and a green agricultural area and woodland.
Architect: Studio Raro Architetti Associati Location: Trento hillside, Italy Year: 2018 Structural project: Pb-Ingenieur, Merano Systems project: Studio Classe Apiù, Trento General contractor - Construction: Fogarolli s.r.l. Other project contributors: Progress S.p.a, Mazzalai Serramenti, F.lli Dalcolmo srl, GB impianti elettrici, Comini pitture, Boden service, San Benedetto Group Photography: Gustav Willeit
From the architect: The residence extends towards the northeast with a shell of concrete shielding the structure from the aforementioned urban area whereas, to the southwest, it opens up completely to the surrounding countryside.
The abstract volume of the building fits into this rural context with simplicity and a kind of formal rigour, a horizontal structure emphasised by the presence of a dry-stone retaining wall which slopes towards the valley floor. A combination of two very material elements, one artificial, the other more natural.
The volume recalls a balancing act as the structure retains its equilibrium across a slope created purposefully by modelling the plot into two distinct spaces, a private garden above and a somewhat more open green area below. The building rests on the former and overhangs the latter.
From the road, the structure presents itself in a rather introspective and essential manner. Solid concrete forms that dialogue with the surrounding trees, planted at various levels, along the road, between the walls and in the garden. The boundary wall represents a kind of “threshold” between a residential urban area and natural open spaces. Beyond the wall, you pass through a series of closed spaces, that act as “filters”, that finally open up through large glass windows onto the surrounding landscape and the valley.
The entrance courtyard accompanies you towards another open, double-height space, characterised by a tree enclosed by a heavy suspended wall. This split-level characteristic continues within the main entrance hall. The living area develops entirely across the first floor and the closing exposed concrete wall to the northeast - which is also visible, unaltered, from within - seems to accentuate the permeability of the internal spaces and the view to the southwest which, with its large glass walls, seems to embrace the surrounding countryside. An internal garden patio, around which the living area develops, highlights both the need for a continuous dialogue with nature and creates a range of different sequences, perspectives and illuminations for the various spaces.
The ground floor is allocated to services with direct access to the garden and swimming pool, a linear element that develops perpendicularly to the building, and partially covered by it, and stretches towards an open view of the valley.
From a structural point of view, the building is composed of a spine wall that develops up through both floors and bears the load of the roof beams, as if they were visible roof ribbing, that in turn sustain the floating wing of the structure with suspension rods.
The employment of exposed concrete, the artificial stone par excellence, with the use of large premoulded elements, accentuates the essential and linear aspect of the building and emphasises the “heavy” suspended structure.
Glass and greenery are the other two materials used as they stand out from the exposed concrete wall and create a series of pleasant contrasts between constructed elements and nature.