In the Veneto art, architecture and design coexist in a daring, rigorous project that brings a building on a hill closer to nature.
The life and aesthetics of yesterday meet those of today
Project Giorgio Zaetta with Martin Soto Climent – Photos Alessio Guarino – Article Virginio Briatore – Edited by Antonella Boisi
The Rotenhaus (Red House) is a project by Giorgio Zaetta that in keeping with the wishes of the owner sets out to intervene in a philological way on an original building, stripping away things added in the 1970s and almost obsessively seeking the original image. The house from the late 1800s has belonged to the client’s family since 1920, and is located in a hilly area of the Veneto.
The second priority was to create a new living area perched in the trees, as in childhood dreams, to add value to the landscape of the northern side of the house, which for various reasons had remained concealed from view.
The addition, composed of a glass pavilion on piles with an area of 90 square meters, is the result of the desire to also enjoy the space in the winter, augmenting the livability of the country house, enjoying the view of the woods in the summer and of the city in the distance in the winter when the trees are bare. The addition is equipped with a new internal staircase to make the two parts of the house independent, divided and shared with family members.
In the new living area facing the woods two large sliding doors, with a height of four meters and larchwood frames, open to the west onto a solarium balcony, and to the east onto the staircase created by the artist Martin Soto Climent, which descends to the lawn. A narrow balcony makes it possible to walk the perimeter of the pavilion without blocking the view of the woods for people inside the space.
The steel cables of the parapet are arranged in an irregular way, establishing a dialogue with the orderly chaos of the branches. The walls with a metal structure are clad on the inside by large modules of white painted wood, and on the outside by larch planks. The roof is in galvanized sheet metal, supported by complex reticular beams, with an interspace insulated by rock wool.
To allow rainwater to descend along the whole perimeter like a veil, the normal gutters have not been installed, but replaced by a C-shaped hollow along the whole roof that conveys the descent of the water in a uniform way.
The outer surface of the roof is in Rheinzink, often seen on churches in the Alpine region. The pavilion stands on a structure of piles in hot-galvanized steel, with a diameter of 13 cm, very close to the average diameter of the hornbeams in the adjacent forest.
The piles are placed at different angles, not only for an aesthetic effect, but also to function as braces and to meet the needs of a zone with high levels of seismic activity. For the same reason, a special concrete foundation has been arranged in steps along the slope, to guarantee perfect stability.
The northern wall of the original house now exists inside, generating the effect of a theatrical wing. A large metal wardrobe made to measure with 1-cm sheets is clad with walnut panels and also serves as a load-bearing structure to support the staircase, also in metal, with a rectangular railing that suggests the temporary character of a worksite.
The space for food preparation features a counter with a sink and a range, produced by Bulthaup. The floor is made with recycled spruce planks. The metal forest inside is perfect for the small magnets with which to hang memories, images, signs, maps. The furnishings are design pieces from the 1950s, accompanied by art from the owner’s collection.
A place of the spirit for a scholar and collector of contemporary art, ready to welcome friends, artists and gallerists, with whom to share moments of research, creativity and pure relaxation.