Built in 1938, Casa Privata was originally a farmhouse, but was subject to a design-based zoning constraint, with the obligation to keep all its architectural elements unchanged: the simple roof cornice, tiny and without boxed eave; the narrow window frames, which allow the interior to receive as much natural lightning as possible; the spare red brick columns. There must not be any TV antenna, no decorum of any kind, no more than a few undecorated fireplaces and only subtle colors should be used for the plaster coating.
A lotta rules, and yet … The goal was to maintain the appearance of the building using modern technologies and construction methods: a ventilated roof maintains the thinness typical of a traditional construction and the wooden beams which look like structural elements from the outside are actually a secondary frame that allows the ventilation.
A completely different approach was used in the new building and in the interiors, using simple shapes, clean lines and transparency. The architects worked to make these two halves of the home coexist and create a harmonious whole, emphasizing the relationship with the environment: the garden — conceived and designed to look natural — and the outline of the surrounding hills.
All the materials used are natural: stone for the outside paths, wood for the interior, lime plasters, and wooden fiber insulation panels within the walls. The designer chose porcelain gres tiles, not to imitate stone or wood, but for the specific beauty of the material itself, and then mixed in monolithic concrete slabs for some floors; the original windows were recreated in the original profile with frames in painted wood and steel.
Oxidized materials and coatings integrated both new and old parts of the home, as if they had always been there. The solar shade structure was rusted, and a black-bluish iron was sued for the window gratings.
It is possible to take an old building, and keep the old aspects of it, and yet create something spectacular and modern.