Among the arcadic hills surrounding Pistoia, our client were buying a farmhouse to be renovate. As usual happens, there was a small unauthorised building in the property. It was one of the many "irregular built volumes” scattered in the Italian territory. Built as a wooden shack, maybe an animal shelter, in a not well defined moment it was transformed in a kind of tiny house. In the passage of ownership its fate would have been demolition before the notary passage, but why produce quintals of rubble when you can attempt a reuse? How can you be certain that even the reinforced concrete foundation would actually be eliminated? We conducted negotiations with the municipality to ensure that the customer did not lose the acquired property and that the landscape could redeem from the abuse.
The new skin All the cabin exterior walls, including the roof, have been covered by straw bales collected in the surrounding fields, then arranged in wooden frames. After been covered with mortar, a technical sheet with vapor barrier and meteoric water insulation was seamed all around. Given its incompatibility with water and moisture, the straw never touches the ground. Up to half meter high, the insulation consists of cellular glass in grain. Facade and roof surface have been then clad in a wooden, chameleon-like dress, in relation to the shades of the earth and the surrounding knotted trunks of olive trees and cypresses.
This wood skin is made out of recycled wooden board, preventively burned to increase their resistance over time. The new building identity become part of the landscape, no more an intrusion. The golden coffer The as-built interior presented a bizarre 120 centimeter steep that divided the environment in two parts. The lower one, had no access doors, a real building monstrosity! It was decided to turn this paradoxical handicap into an element of uniqueness. Placing on the edge of the slope a freestanding kitchen, the two areas were separated without having to place a balustrade that would emphasize the pre-existing spatial oddity.
The kitchen at one side becomes a cantilever table, on the opposite site deeps into the window intrados, thanks to the glass reflection it ideally extends outdoors. If the exterior speak the dark language of the trunks and the ground, the interior is a dazzling golden coffer that recall the hidden straw coating. Lime plaster is made of clay excavated in the surrounding fields and applied with many passages and craftsmanship. Straw filaments were added to strengthen its consistency. Floors and bathroom surfaces were finished with the ancient technique of the cocciopesto, reaching an absolute water repellency and resistance to deterioration.
The kitchen and the stairs connecting the two levels are made of chestnut wood, a typical local wood essence. The crude steel lamps have been designed and manufactured at Hypnos workshop in Milan. Among the interior design peculiarities there is the bathroom washbasin. It was made from a section of a cutted cypress trunk, that was likely to collapse on the cabin itself. After the carving out of an hole to host a stainless steel basin, the trunk was oiled until full saturations of pores.
1. Facade cladding: burned wood plates
2. Flooring: Natural Cocciopesto
3. Doors: Royal Pat Mya frameless door
4. Windows: Hand crafted wood frames by Scarabeo srl, Marliana
5. Roofing: Ventilated layer of burned wood plates on existing concrete slab
6. Interior lighting: Steel tubes handcrafted by Hypnos
7. Interior furniture: Chestnut veneer for kitchen and staircase.
Solid cypress for washbasin.