The project aimed to convert, for residential use, the rustic annexes of the eighteenth-century Villa Saccomani, located on the moraine hills a few kilometres from Lake Garda and the city of Verona.
Before the project began, the annexes, part of the villa’s prestigious, monumental park, were merely seen as areas of low, architectural value . This negative impact was mainly due to the building, in the twentieth century , of an incongruous extension obtained by elevating walls in concrete blocks on top of the original, picturesque, building which had been constructed with river stone typical of rural buildings of the area.
The project foresaw, in the first instance, the demolition of the twentieth century additions stripping the building to its original, fascinating form . Later, a new extension was built with an exposed brick finish. This allows us to clearly identify the original section from the new extension.
To reduce the excessive colour contrast that would have been formed between the two facing walls ( the colour of red brick against the grey colour of the stone) both surfaces were covered with a rope-coloured scialbatura (an antique technique that involves a type of painting with lime). Seen from a distance, within the villa’s park or the hilly landscape , the expanded building appears as unit; close up however, it is possible to clearly distinguish the original and the new, brick extension.
Nonetheless, in order to reduce the contrast of materials that would have been formed between the surface of the rustic stone base and the strong linearity of the new brick extension, we experimented with the laying of new masonry that made the visual impact of new construction less uniform. The laying of the bricks , 30 cm long , was made by rotating the long sides in a seemingly disordered way to form asymmetrical recesses with slight convex and concave corners . This solution gave the new brick surface a striking, movement of light effect, due to the creation of light shadows spread across the entire wall.
On the side facing the park, the masonry stone coincides with the ground floor and incorporates the living area while the new brickwork defines the first floor bedrooms.
The brick wall on the first floor is broken with incisions that define the new windows. The windows’ profiles have been completely installed on the inside so as not to be visible and also emphasize the idea of timeless architecture . Between the window frame and the masonry, without any type of fastening beams, safety glass was installed which acts as an invisible parapet.
On the ground floor, the new windows were installed within the annex’s existing portals and were made with iron profiles in view . In this way greater abstraction is awarded to the extended parts and a more traditional aspect remains for the original section.