The house at the edge of the forest, in the days of Google Maps: the roof of a single-family home in Carpignano Sesia, province of Novara, has been conceived to be visible on Google Earth, in aerial and satellite photos, becoming a landmark for the zone.

On the edge of a large wooded area, the corrugated sheet metal – in different colors to underline the shape of the cultivated fields and rice fields – indicates the boundary of the small Piedmont town next to the A26 motorway.

The architects Valerio Maria Ferrari and Cinzia Mazzone (VMCF Atelier) have taken this condition as a deterrent to future settlement, hence the idea of a hinge house that will remain to bear witness to the configuration of the territory.

Composed of two trapezoidal volumes of different height, connected to form three open spaces, the house is a contemporary interpretation of certain compositional elements of courtyard farmhouses, characteristic presences in the surrounding landscape. The breakdown of the volumes makes them blend into the greenery, increasing the southern exposure to improve accumulation of clean energy.

Following closely the differences in farm organization dictated by the different functions of the individual parts, the various spaces of the new building correspond to the requirements of daytime and nighttime living. The rooms are located on one level, but an attic over the living area and a loft in the bedroom zone shift the heights of the volumes and add character to the south and north facades.

On the latter, the access to the upper floor and the roof is protected by a light curtain of bamboo canes that soften the elegant rigor of the exterior walls painted in gray and defined by a white graphic pattern of horizontal borders and vertical lines, reprised in the handrails and iron railings of the terrace.

The play of colors becomes more unexpected on the roof, where the rectangular metal sheets inside the trapezoids reflect not only the view of the fields from above, but also the local use of this material to cover chicken coops and garages. For future memory, this unique contemporary farmhouse will offer a faithful record of the transformations of our time, taking place with the safeguarding of traditions and the past.

Photos: Francesco Clemente and Alessandro Belgiojoso.