Villa K: contemporary style and rural tradition in the hills of northern Italy
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Villa K: contemporary style and rural tradition in the hills of northern Italy

Small sharecropper houses are brought back to life in a landscape dominated by vineyards

Alvisi Kirimoto

Villa K: contemporary style and rural tradition in the hills of northern Italy
By Redazione The Plan -

The landscape of northern Italy's hills is defined by its vineyards, interrupted here and there by small and larger patches of woodland, and dotted with the homes of the sharecroppers who lived and worked here until the 1950s. Working with the architectural heritage of this location demands taking all these elements into account, while incorporating into the design process the flow of the landscape, traditional materials, and the brilliant colors of the changing seasons.

Architects Massimo Alvisi and Junko Kirimoto oversaw the renovation and extension of Villa K, a complex made up of two existing volumes, with the typical features of the local rural architecture, on a five-acre (2 h) site among the rolling hills. Their work begins to reveal itself from the new entrance and the sightlines created by the arrangement of new elements, with wood framing used to expand the living area, the terraces for the vegetable garden and the recreation areas, the infinity pool that offers views over the entire valley, and the wooden poolside deck.

On the main level of the site – that is, the level of the original courtyard, whose ancient trees have been preserved – the two existing three- and two-floor building stand at right angles to each other and parallel to the new extension and swimming pool. Below are the basements and underground car parks.

The fulcrum of the project is the extension of the living area of the main building. Although transparent and light, this new volume establishes a dialogue with the more substantial existing structures while simultaneously blending into the landscape of the vineyards beyond. The structure comprises cedar framing forming a double-pitched shape that partially covers a glazed volume and then continues beyond it to form a pergola that provides shade for an outdoor barbeque area.

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A home that’s an integral part of the landscape

Villa K, Alvisi Kirimoto ©Marco Cappelletti, courtesy of Alvisi Kirimoto

The main building is on three levels, with the main walls and openings of the original building retained. At ground level are the kitchen, dining room, and the living area, which leads to the wooden extension but is divided from it by a double-sided fireplace. The level above houses the master bedroom with a walk-in closet. Besides services and the owner’s wine cellar, the basement has two suites, both accessible from outside via a new iron staircase. As well as the main volume, the project comprises a smaller two-story building, which houses three more suites, each with direct access from outside.

Although minimalist, all the interior spaces are warm and welcoming, wherever possible retaining links with local tradition in the form of brick ceilings, old wooden rafters painted white, and the use of local stone for the new staircase.

By conceiving each internal space as being in direct contact with the outdoors, Alvisi Kirimoto has created a project whose permeability between inside and out makes it an integral part of the landscape.

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Location: Piemonte, Italy
Architects: Alvisi Kirimoto
Completion: 2022
Client: Private
Gross floor area: 910 m2
Structures: Milan Ingegneria
Plant Equipment: Brescia2Progetti
Quantity Surveyor: GAD
Landscape: Paesaggistica Toscana

Lighting: Artemide, Simes
Windows Frame and Doors: Capoferri

Photography by Marco Cappelletti and Flavio Pescatore, courtesy of Alvisi Kirimoto

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