Retreat for Silence in Montiglio, Piedmont: a sacred space, immersed in nature
laa - lorenaalessioarchitetti
Located in Piedmont (Italy), the Retreat for Silence is an individual sacred space, immersed in nature, intended for research and meditation.
The considerable presence of Romanesque churches in the Asti area acts as inspiration for the shape and orientation of the building within the site. In laa’s experimentation. The profound religious symbolism is absorbed and reinterpreted in a contemporary key to adapt the Romanesque features to contemporary functionality and form, optimizing the building’s performance.
As in Romanesque architecture the hermitage turns its “apse” eastwards to capture the morning light. The layout of the interior functions and the resulting asymmetry led the structure’s portals to take a more pronounced configuration on the South side: the decision to arrange the living spaces along this side is linked to the needs of enjoying light and heat of the sun, as well as defining a larger surface area on the roof for the solar and photovoltaic panels.
Inside, the space developed within an internal tripartition enriched by symbolic elements.
The first block links the exterior to the interior of the building. The staircase anticipating the small entrance is designed as an additional space to enjoy contact with the outside landscape. The entrance is a filter between inside-and outside – a intimate mood should be developed while entering the hermitage. The central volume is dedicated to the study and personal care: on the right, the external washbasin leads to the toilet area, while on the left a table next to the wall provides a space for reading. A sliding door separates this space from the third zone: the sacred area. Located at the back of the building, this last corner is distinguished by its enveloping and luminous atmosphere, enclosed in the semi-hexagonal space of the apse opening onto the hills. The luminosity of the sacred area is enriched not only by the central glass window in the apse, but also by two openings on the roof set on the North and South sides, which, passing though the fiberglass weave closing the sliding partition, create plays of light inside the living space.
The retreat is composed of four portals, with a span of 3 meters and, for the apse, a center-to-center distance of 1.55 meter, marking out the interior.
The Retreat for Silence is currently being defined as being part of the wider “PoplyHouse” project, which offers a new construction solution for modular structures, suitable for different functions.
Salus Hominis Foundation
arch. Lorena Alessio
Julian Chavez Rodriguez, Alessia Sciotto
Ing. Luca Negri
E. Vigolungo S.p.A., Gallo Legnami, Ormea Serramenti
Founded by Lorena Alessio, laa is distinguished by its multidisciplinary approach to masterplanning, architectural design including landscape architecture, interior design and brand identity, working both nationally and internationally. In each design laa instills passion and assiduous research on materials and their applications; on structures and technology, on forms and their meaning. Focusing on the making of spaces where individuals can feel immersed with mind, body and spirit. The studio has been internationally recognized and exhibited at the Biennale of Venice 2018. Each project is the result of daily suggestions and formal experimentations combined with technological innovation. The interaction between space and user is at the base of laa’s methodology, favoring intermediate and undefined spaces. The transition from emptiness to fullness, the maximum lightness of expression are other recurring concepts.