Masseria Terre di Corillo

NARDO', ITALY - 2016

Masseria Terre di Corillo brought NCB into a very long and exciting architectural journey lasted four years, and still in progress, supporting the commissioner in the ambitious purpose of reshaping and restoring dignity in a large portion of Apulia’s territory characterized by historical, traditional and naturalistic traces.

Corillo’s complex is located between the two towns of Nardò and Galatone and it was named after an ancient rural settlement called chorion (from Byzantine).

The human transformation of the landscape can be seen in the presence of many quarries and Ipogeo spaces around  the construction, as well as in the proximity of the main buildings to a Roman road axis which connected Taranto, Gallipoli and Lecce.

The oldest unit is probably the base of the dovecote tower, dating-back to the XV century, that in the origins is supposed to have had a defensive role. Over time many volumes and courtyards grew up all around, whose final appearance is due  to the last enlargement  carried out around 1762 – as attested thanks to an inscription located at the entrance of the main courtyard.

The restoration masterplan developed together with the owner intended to rehabilitate the pre-existences, but without denying the important role of a functional, semantic and modern architectural strategy, able to give back to the site its original appearance together with new functional, material and emotional values congruent with the hospitality aim of the location.

NCB’s concept wanted to collect within a single vision the restoration philosophy, the new architectural interconnections, the renovated functional layout and  the coordination of outdoors and green areas.

In particular, studying courtyards became an important step in the architectural and naturalistic plan, creating a connection between each specific functional area and the building volumes according to the different project scales.

In this perspective, water signs represent a symbolic constant alluding to the incessant renovation of the site during the changing pattern of the seasons , inflected through the pure geometry of the new infinity pool realised in the main courtyard as well as in the rehabilitation of the ancient trough located in the late-Baroque secret garden at the bottom of the ancient dovecote tower.

Green design as well was carried on by NCB with the idea of solid on void, giving it a value in relation with the pre-existent, some building fencings traces and the different levels height that give rhythm to the Masseria profiles. The ancient pergola has been accurately reconstructed, giving new significance to shapes and original proportions according with local types of Masseria and creating a direct dialogue with local wise artisans.

The Pergola structure develops tangential to the main volumes, establishing a relation between the back hill and the northern gate, towards the vineyard. At the same time it becomes a boundary between the fresh green area and the new labyrinth, a tribute to the late-Baroque garden of earthly delights, where the ancient irrigation system has been recovered to create a game of artworks and water lines.

The identity of the site is portrayed through evident stratigraphy and matchings, a mix of antiquities and modern stitching  applying to the value of materials more than their geometry, with the idea of generating a measured and proportionated punctuation on the visual and tactile experience of this place.

Some ancient basalt pavements have been recreated following severe craft techniques and using authentic materials, giving life to corten and glass pavilions; natural lime plasters merge with local textured stones; pure and clean furnishings join km0 antiques; there is no element prevaricating the others  nothing, and it seems that the whole thing and any individual part can peacefully coexist surrounded by sun, sea and wind.

The project, in fieri, will be finished in the near future with the addition of an Ortus Conclusus and it will be surrounded by new buildings realized in tuff, steel, glass in order to welcome modern ways of ancient hospitality.