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Holiday house in rural Lecce

Matteo Facchinelli

Holiday house in rural Lecce
By Francesco Pagliari -

Set in a rural location shaped by the changes that a long farming tradition has brought to the land, this summer holiday house is surrounded by tradition in the form of dry stone walls, small stone buildings, embankments, and olive groves. In such a natural setting, marked by the long-term influence of humans, tradition becomes a key element.
The project reflects a progressive view of the relationship between the traditional and the contemporary, putting down strong roots through its design and making equally strong changes through superimposing upon the countryside a residential building with no relationship to the functional requirements of farming. The result is a radical shift in perspective, tempered by the preservation of compositional and technical elements that reflect traditional concepts.
The house appears very solid, its design seemingly flattened along the ground, creating a powerful volume. The white rendered exterior likewise expresses solidity and is reminiscent of an ancient building with the walls sloping steeply towards the ground. The differently sized square windows, with timber frames and shutters, seem to randomly dot the walls at different heights without the rigidity of any symmetrical pattern – a common feature of many old buildings. Each exterior wall is therefore different from the next.
The thickness of the walls is broken by the window openings, which on the inside form large tapering spaces around the glazing, suggesting a focusing on the changing landscape and horizons, half concealed by trees, land, and glimpses of sky. The walls themselves employ different construction methods. The lower section uses concrete blocks to form a cavity filled with stones. Above the reinforced concrete lintel, the walls are lighter and thinner, with the exterior and interior concrete blocks joining in the middle.
Inside, the home is dominated by parallel barrel vaults of exposed tuff stone, imparting a striking and solemn look to the interiors. The materials are a reference to local traditions: the stone vaulting is reflected in the Lecce stone floors, while Lecce stone has also been used for the coping, forming a thin, slightly projecting line in a contrasting colour that marks the tops of the walls.
The different areas of the home have been arranged to optimize ambient temperatures and maximize outside views. The living area is located to the north to minimize the heat of the sun during the day. By extending the interior space via a large pergola with a slatted roof, the usable area becomes larger, offering opportunities for outdoor living. The three bedrooms, separated from the living area by three bathrooms, are located to the south, towards the distant sea.

Location: Salve, Lecce
Client: Private
Completion: 2009
Gross Floor Area: 130 m2
Architects: Matteo Facchinelli (architect), Alberto Peruzzo (project manager)
Freelance Collaborator: Francesco Cicogna
Contractor: Corciulo Costruzioni

Floors: Pitardi Pietra Leccese
Timber Work and Structures, Doors and Windows: Artigiana Serramenti
Plaster: Röfix

Photo by: © Matteo Facchinelli Architetto

MFA is a group of Italian architects, designers and landscape designers actively engaged in architecture, town-planning and research.
Set up in 2007 by Matteo Facchinelli on the strength of his years practising in France and Italy, MFA has been selected by and involved in many national and international competitions.
These are the main projects picked and completed in recent years:

- Finalist in the Restricted Competition, phase 2, for 30 dwellings at St. Etienne, France (work still in progress)
- Building a company canteen at Brescia, Italy.

- 3rd prize in the competition by invitation for a residential complex at Brescia.
- Finalist in the ideas competition for 20.000 m2 of assisted residential building promulgated by the Milan municipality and situated at Cascina Merlata.
- Mentioned among the tenders for a primary school at Albino, Bergamo
- Mentioned at the ideas competition for upgrade of public urban areas promulgated by Mantua municipality.

- Project mentioned in the international competition to design a new multi-purpose cultural centre for the Municipality of Samarate, Varese;
- 3rd equal in the international ideas competition at Pizzo Sella, promulgated by the Roll of Architects, Palermo province.

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