Hillside House in Giove


The house is situated on sloping rural site overlooking the Tiber River valley, one hour north of Rome. The project is a literal translation of a regional building law that allows owners of properties in agricultural areas to add up to 100 m2 of new floor area to existing structures. The two storey volume is a reconstruction of a small stone building, while the one-storey partially cantilevered red ‘box’ represents the allowable addition.

A difficult to access building site, coupled with restrictive zoning regulations - a narrow gravel road does not allow for the passage of a cement mixer, and the site is deemed to be at risk of possible landslides and earthquakes - determined the innovative approach (for Italy) to the construction of the house. A reinforced concrete slab hovers above the terrain, supported by 43, fifteen meter deep concrete piles, while the remainder of the house is a steel cage clad in lightweight, dry panel construction (Knauf AQUAPANEL® Cement Board on the exterior and gypsum board interior walls). The resulting structure, which weighs approximately one third of a traditional all-masonry structure, allowed for a reduction in the diameter of the piles and a consequent reduction in costs, while the piles ensure that the house bears on solid rock, without adding any new loads to the terrain (and actually removing the weight of the existing structure).

The neutral off-white interiors are offset by the custom built cabinetry and sliding doors in white-washed chestnut and the rusted steel stair with its bleached wood treads. A suspended steel fireplace floats in front of the spectacular panoramic view of the Tiber Valley and Monte Sorate, visible through the floor to ceiling corner window and the oversize sliding exterior pocket doors that render the house more of an outdoor than an indoor space.

A state-of-the-art mechanical system, composed of under floor radiant panels and solar panels for sanitary hot water, ensures interior comfort during the cold and damp winters, while industrial ceiling fans and the intelligent use of cross ventilation and natural shading keep the house cool during the long summer months. 

The house is completed by a large exterior patio that represents an extension of the interior. It is an ideal space to watch the sunrise, while the shade cast by the addition during the late summer afternoons ensures it is cool enough for outdoor summer dining.

Floor Area: 130 m2 on two levels

Design: 2006-2008

Construction: 2008-2010

Architect of Record: Riccardo Vannucci_FAREstudio, Rome

Mechanical and Electrical Engineers: SIGMA sas, Rome

Piling and Foundations: GE.AR. sas, Terni

Dry Panel Construction: Prestige Group, Palestrina

Civil & Electrical: Antonio Cianfarini, Rome

Mechanical Installer: Massimo Santella, Rome

Windows & Carpentry: Idealuminio, Rome

Photographs: Alberto Muciaccia, Rome


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