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Z-shaped House

A uniquely shaped home

INS Ilaria Nava Studio

Z-shaped House
By Elisa Grossi -

Designed by Ilaria Nava, this single-family residence in Saronno, in Italy’s northern province of Varese near lake Como, is all about light and shadow. Projecting and splayed shapes form a two-level sculptural volume that follows the natural gradient, fitting into the surrounding landscape without altering its delicate balance. The new, strikingly contemporary building replaces an existing two-level residence from the 1990s, it too set in a large garden, its north side giving on to an expanse of protected agricultural land. Architect Ilaria Nava explained that although sited at +1.50 m above street level – lower down the sloping plot than the former volume – it was nonetheless decided to place the new lower floor at -1.50 m, thereby limiting the overall height to avoid blocking the views of its neighbors. Rising out of the natural contours, the new house seems to spring from the earth reaching skyward as it settles into its context, large windows offering occupants multiple unexpected views over the landscape.
Inside and out, large pure white surfaces are juxtaposed with wooden finishes, highlighting the villa’s novel massing. As well as blending with the natural landscape and built environment, the program is also the response to the clients’ request to have a total surface area of 350 sq. m of which 100 of accessory spaces for services like the garage, mechanicals and heating plant. The remaining 250 sq. m were to be given over to living spaces, the day area occupying the lower level and the night zone located on the upper floor. The resultant configuration mirrors the room sequence requested by the owners. The sharp geometric lines do not detract from the overall fluidity and dynamism of the whole. Indeed, proceeding diagonally in both plan and elevation, the program takes full advantage of the different outlooks, affording residents maximum comfort throughout the day. The Z-shaped ground floor gives the residence its...

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© Maggioli SpA • THE PLAN • Via del Pratello 8 • 40122 Bologna, Italy • T +39 051 227634 • P. IVA 02066400405 • ISSN 2499-6602 • E-ISSN 2385-2054