The warm sun of Apulia, the green Itria Valley and a passion for greenery are the ingredients for the residence of a Dutch couple who chose Italy as their heartland and Cisternino to live in.
The building, located in the historic center of one of the Most Beautiful Villages in Italy, has four levels and faces the majestic and elegant main square of the village on one side, a narrow alley on the other, while on the remaining sides it is set against the adjacent historic fabric. The rectangular shape of the long and narrow floor plan (30 x5 m.) limited the possibilities for natural lighting and air exchange, as well as did not meet sanitation criteria, undermining living comfort resulting in its abandonment.
The rehabilitation project and energy upgrading were an opportunity to experiment with a new way of inhabiting an intimate space through IMMERSIVE GREEN. The idea of emptying the central volume of the building, opening the rooms on multiple levels to light and air, with a double-height patio with a skylight that can be opened, as needed, ensured the quality and well-being of all the rooms it overlooks, while losing a minimal amount of surface area.
The green patio is a wind tower, a regulating element of hygrometric comfort in different seasons that, in the summer sucks in cool air from below to expel warm air from above, while in the winter season it is a solar greenhouse that captures the light and heat inside to distribute it to different rooms.
This domestic retreat was designed in close relationship with nature, which plays a key role in both the green patio and the terraces overlooking the square.
A suspended staircase, like a space-time spiral, lands on the patio, an “empty” space designed as a lush garden with species from the different tree, shrub and herbaceous planes. To name a few: Monstera deliciosa, Musa paradisiaca, Arecastrum romanzoffianum, Pheridophyta, Philodendron or Ficus repens, Vinca minor and TIllandtsias on the walls. A small fountain with water plants gladdens the house with its noise.
The whole appears as a jungle with green walls: a microcosm of high technology able to harness natural resources with geothermal energy, water recovery to irrigate plants, and the transpiration and evaporation that plants produce to provide an environment that enhances the psycho-physical well-being not only of people but also of the plants themselves.
The stereometric and austere main façade is filtered by climbing species of Jasminum nudiflorum, Solanum jasminoides,small climbers of Camellia sasanqua and Lonicera pileata just to name a few. This principle of preserving the intimacy of the interior spaces of the second floors from the prying eyes of passersby is a tradition of Mediterranean villages. In contrast, on the upper floors the outdoor space opens up with a terrace overlooking the historic center. The exterior of the balconies and terrace was designed with few species at large masses to maintain this formal rigor that the site requires and in the local tradition, where plants are focuses on which to converge the gaze without detracting from the whiteness of the white facades.