The Suspended Monolith

Secluded and cosy, purposefully protected by a band of lawn that acts both as a connection to and separation from the surrounding landscape, this single-family home (designed by Parisotto+Formenton Architetti) rising over two levels immediately makes its introverted character plain.

The compositional solution, strong and compact, superimposes two regular parallelepipeds of different sizes to create a white, recessed base, cut into by openings and perfectly geometrical “erosions” created by moving back the line of the façade so as to take away covered portions of the building and define the open-air spaces.

The white base of the ground floor, resting on the basalt paving, is repeated in the façade as a series of solid and empty shapes alternating in a harmonious solution, with the white walls serving as supports for the construction above.

The upper space, larger and with a slight overhang, has the appearance of a stone monolith, cladded with the same basalt found at the lawn level as a border around the building, in a successful connection – down to the size of the slabs used – between the cladding of the vertical façade and the horizontal surface of the walkway.

The first floor space, grey and compact, appears to be suspended over the base supporting it, in a size relationship that renders it bold, due to its greater height, the material used, and the sophisticated and carefully measured compactness of its surface, interrupted only by narrow vertical openings along the larger sides and by glass windows of a different size on the ends corresponding to the sleeping area and study.

In the architectural choices and distribution of the space, the building seeks to form a sort of reference boundary; while the suspended monolith aims to mark out this boundary with its finished shape and its strong material character, the ground level opens towards the lawn, creating three patios that alternate with the open spaces.

The patios are designed as a direct extension of domestic life, rooms with a slice of sky for ceilings which are missing – due only to the height of the ground floor to which they correspond – the walls corresponding to the façade’s perimeter.

This creates “amphibious” spaces that straddle the interior and exterior, capable of holding an open-air living/dining room, a potted tree, a room for gazing at the sky framed, or rather, cut out by the contours of the building.

Pedestrian access from the road, flanked by a small, geometric garden and by the garage, is aligned on an axis with the central spine along which the various rooms are lined up, forming a single reference walkway.

Entering from the left, the spacious living area unfolds; facing it is the kitchen with an island running lengthwise, separated from the dining room by a smoke-effect glass panel. This space faces the patio with the potted tree on one side, and the central walkway on the other. Here, in a central position we come upon the largest patio, which forms an open-air living space.

Continuing towards the second part of the house, we encounter the stairwell with walls cladded in basalt, almost as if to form an interior connection between the material sense of the suspended space and the paving serving as a boundary on the ground level, connecting it to the grassy lawn.

We meet a home cinema area before finding the two bedrooms set at the far end of the ground floor in correspondence to those on the upper level. On the first floor, the long, central hallway, looking out over the patios below, is broken up by the fitness room; later, it leads to a study equipped with a kitchen in the area above the entrance and part of the living room.

As a material element connecting the domestic spaces as a structured whole, a floor made of planed oak, its horizontal planks set parallel to the short sides of the house, covers the entire interior floor surface, joining together rooms and hallways

Photos Mads Mogensen – Article Matteo Vercelloni – Styling Martina Hunglinger