Casone Group and Unica Architects talk about Villa Horizon: a house developed on a single floor according to horizontal logics, designed ad hoc to blend in with the landscape

Immersed in the Po Valley, Villa Orizzonte was designed by the Unica Architects studio with a view to leaving maximum freedom of expression to the landscape; the materials of the Casone Group are the common thread throughout the project.

Dislocated on one floor and developed entirely with horizontal logic and south orientation, this house is set in a context characterized by a generous land overlooking a river.

The structure is made up of two programmatic boxes which transform into a large terrace open to the horizon by minimalist sliding glass doors which run the length of the house and which blend the outside with the inside.

Every element of the Villa, from the architecture to the smallest detail, follows the same philosophy and speaks the same language.

What was the starting need/request? Where did you start from?

The project request from the customers was the design of a one-story detached villa with contemporary lines starting from the pre-existence of an agricultural farmhouse.

Given the low typological value of the house, we opted for a demolition of the building but we still had the regulatory limit of respecting the area of the grounds.

This strong limitation turned out to be one of the inspirations for the project since we regularized the volume that derived from the pre-existing site with the addition of a suspended loggia which on one side acts as a sun screen to the south and on the other has generated a series of patios that have become one of the characterizing elements of the project.

What are the design logics that guided you?

From the first visit to the site we were struck by the extension of the area and the view of the river bank, this determined the decision to opt for a horizontal volume completely open to the landscape in order to eliminate the barriers between inside and outside and to ensure that the river landscape enters the villa through the various green patios.

It was immediately clear that we had to opt for an extreme exercise in horizontality with particular attention to the composition of the roof, visible from the river bank.

What is the role of materials?

Under the roof that compositionally unifies the whole building there are two program boxes, the first more technical and public that accompanies the visitor from the outside to the inside of the house, entirely covered with white stone while the second, with the main program, more open to the landscape and light, plastered.

Each material has been used to convey a message or a sensation according to its intrinsic characteristics: stone, a hard and noble material, to characterize the public face of the house, microcement, a continuous material, on the floor to guarantee continuity between interior and exterior, wood, warm and soft, we have introduced in the most private areas, etc.

What materials did you work with?

We have worked with stone, microcement, wood and plaster.

We have opted for a materiality that leaves the protagonist to the landscape whereby stone, micro-cement and wood alternate tone-on-tone in all the rooms of the house, creating a warm but at the same time essential atmosphere.

Two other fundamental materials for the project are water, which amplifies the perception of the internal environments, of the external volume and refreshes the environments and the light which penetrates all the corners of the villa through the patios, the skylights and the minimal windows, creating unexpected atmospheres.

How to create the right synergy between a house with such essential contour lines, which refers to clear-cut geometries, and the surrounding nature?

The synergy between nature and building is given by the continuous dialogue between the different geometries, between the soft and sinuous ones of the vegetation and the geometric and clear ones of the building.

The perforations created in the roof generate plays of light and shadow that enhance this relationship and allow the landscape to enter the villa through the minimal windows, softening its geometries.

Holm oaks, maples and elms have been specifically chosen to mark the passage between the various rooms of the house in relation to the compositional and volumetric needs and to offer ever-changing atmospheres with the passing of the seasons through a balance of evergreen and stripping plants.

How to combine environments that are ethereal to the eye and at the same time welcoming and warm for those who live there?

We conceive single-family residence projects always tailored to the customer, so the concept of warm, straight and welcoming are always subjective and relative to the people who will live in the houses.

We always find constants in our projects, such as the relationship between inside and outside, between light and shadow, between water and vegetation, etc. which are combined according to the requests and the place where the project is inserted.

In this case we have given importance to the experience by playing between the natural and the artificial.

The geometries, the materials used and the ethereal environments serve to emphasize this immersive experience in nature and the surrounding landscape.