On the border between Liguria and Tuscany, a house in wood and stone, enhanced by natural light, tells of ways of living and inhabiting the world that respect nature

"While we were looking for the right land to build this architecture," says the owner, "we happened to be here on a clear, bright day: it was spring, the meadows knew it, and I immediately thought of Mattina ("M'illumino / d'immenso", ed.) the poem that Giuseppe Ungaretti wrote from the front, dazzled by the violent light and the horizon that filled his chest like a hope before the tragedy of war. I wanted to engrave those verses at the entrance of our house, to remind us of the confidence with which it is good to look to the future'.

Strong, enveloping natural light

Here too, on the Magra plain a few kilometres from Sarzana, the light is strong and envelops the wood and stone architecture, brightens up the space around it, illuminates the horizon. Light that becomes a material for architecture. Ductile by nature, it becomes a constituent element of design: channelled, modelled, shaped, it strikes and illuminates forms, balances light and darkness.

A travel notebook

Built on a flat plot of land, the house is built around a central core of reconstructed stone, about one and a half metres higher than the outbuildings and with a slope that gives the volumes breathing space. Signed Rubner Haus, the building is an open travel notebook where nature tells its story in dialogue with architecture.

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All on one level

The central stone core of the architecture houses the open space comprising living room and kitchen, with a dining counter and pantry next to the cooking area. From here the other spaces, all on one level, are articulated: sleeping area, with smaller rooms than the living area, two bathrooms, study, technical room with laundry.

A glimpse of greenery

And then there is the porch (with a treated, impregnated and painted wooden pergola, also made by Rubner Haus), a space much loved for its view of the garden of plants from all over the world and of the interior, which the large windows cover with light. A compact architecture whose rationality leaves room for the owners to express their passions and desire for freedom.

An explosion of plants and flowers

"I love plants and flowers," explains the owner, "and from my travels I have always brought cuttings and seeds that I have managed to germinate here". And so, the garden and greenhouse are a colourful explosion of specimens from the Far East, Africa, South America. Succulents peep out of the eight small windows in the pillars of the porch.

An ideal microclimate

The exuberant vitality of the outdoors enters and exits freely from the architecture, whose microclimate remains comfortable in winter and summer. "This house, this architecture designed together with Rubner Haus, is so well insulated that the energy savings are unparalleled: we only turn on the heating in the middle of winter, in a quarter of an hour the house heats up and the heat is maintained for a long time."

An album of memories

The interiors are an album of memories to be leafed through, a hymn to the perennial restlessness of the traveller. Maps, collections of Arab daggers or from Cambodia, Burma and Vietnam, Yemeni belts, madonnas and religious icons from Guatemala, India and Greece, coexist in an aesthetic syncretism with the wooden or modern furnishings of the bedrooms and the main hall.

An essential, rigorous but creative aesthetic

Minimalist architecture and practicality are therefore combined with an essential, rigorous yet creative aesthetic, which is why an invisible, low-pitched roof was chosen with respect to the perimeter line of the roof, as dark as the solar panels, which integrate without showing themselves. In every season the greenery has something miraculous about it, transforming the house into a pleasant and vital place that is always up-to-date.

Photo by Alberto Franceschi