Sited on the fringes of a small town in northern Italy, this compact single-family house has been designed to be highly efficient in terms of energy savings and is set to become an address synonymous with sustainable design.
Organised symmetrically along a north-south axis, the building is sited in a way that deliberately favours solar orientation within the geometry of the parcel, and utilizes the principles of passive solar heating to maximise thermal loads during the winter months. On the south end of the site, the building’s facade bends into a trapezoidal funnel that facilitates maximum penetration of direct sunlight during the winter, and minimises summer overheating by doubling as a large brise-soleil that shades the building when the sun is at its highest position.
Spatially, the plan of the building is organised around a central living room that divides the house into two symmetrical wings: one that emphasises public, ‘collective’ functions of the household, such as the kitchen and dining spaces; and one that emphasises individual privacy for the members of the family, including a generous master suite. A small vestibule on the north end of the house serves as a prelude to the main living room, framing views of the surrounding garden as you enter the house.
Inspired by a 2000 years old Japanese technique known as shou-sugi-ban, which makes wood less susceptible to fire and keeps away insects and rot, the building explores innovative uses of material and will be the first house in Italy to be clad with torched larch timber planks. Our choices of material celebrate the building’s eventual weathering, deliberately minimising the frequency of operational maintenance whilst allowing the building to slowly develop a textured coloration and patina.


Client: Private
Use: Single family house
Budget: 300,000 €
Bldg. Gross Area: 135 m²
Structure: Timber
EU Energetic Class: A+
Status: Completed in September 2016


Advisors: Studio Ing. Giandomenico Merlo (M&E), Ing. Adriano Mion (Structures), Ing. Alberto Asquini (Acoustics)
General contractor: ZANINI HOME Srl
Photos: Mario Callegari