RK House

VALDERICE, ITALY - 2013

The project about the restoration of an ancient Baglio in Valderice, Trapani, was conceived according to two ambitious guidelines: on one side the aim of revitalizing an ancient baglio - full of charm and memories – and on the other the purpose of creating a cozy and suggestive Mediterranean place-garden, able to systematize a flap of landscape placed between the vertical profiles of Mount Erice and Mount Cofano and designed through the bright coast of the Bonagia marina.

An intensive research and a deep exchange of knowledge with local experts and craftsmen have been fundamental in order to define the correct enhancement strategy of the rural complex and together its functional conversion program, firstly recovering rules which determined the genesis and the evolution, working using subtraction with the aim of underling the historical, typological, constructive features of the complex and of course the orography of the site.

The artifacts have been restored preserving the original lines and proportions: a game of joints and elementary volumes sequences collected and located around a Moorish-inspired secret garden, a miniature village developed along a series of suggestive axes and paved terraces reinforced by Mediterranean plants and essences. The main building, arranged on two overlapping levels, is punctuated by rooms and regular openings, the latter slightly enlarged to allow greater internal brightness. The lower level, which houses the living areas and offices, is linked to a wide viewpoint overlooking the sea, while on the opposite side the floor is directly grafted into the rock; the lateral elevations develop adapting to the slopes of the ridge and are defined according to the ramps and terraces system which marks and protects them from the weather. The upper floor, meant for bedrooms and private spaces, looks at the courtyard-garden on the southern side.

Communication between levels has been ensured thanks to the presence of a helicoidal stair placed in the centre of the beam; mediating the Arabic tradition, this spiral sculpture guarantees both flows and air circulation during hot summer days.

The interiors have been designed in order to enhance the spatial continuum among the courtyard, gardens and landscape, making the most of what is allowed by the sequence of rooms always connected each other through aligned openings which establish a constant relation with the outside. A project of great functional economy has guaranteed the perfect correspondence between the plan layout and the ambitious owners requests, which have required the chance to have both common and private spaces, capable of creating a sense of continuity and intimate calm together, suitable for hosting pieces of contemporary art – the authentic passion of the landlady. Finishes and materials have been carefully selected within the local uses palette, but without renouncing the reformulation of new contemporary harmonies through the use of elements such as corten steel and cement resins.

The recovery of the original paths and walkways was also fundamental, characterized by ancient tuff columns and pergolas, terracotta-tiled floors, stones and decorated ceramics, realized by the previous ownerships following the traces of the ancient paths that climbed from the coast towards the Ericina Mountain, to which we wanted to give the right emphasis by underlining the drywall system that defines its boundary.

As a great Sicilian intellectual of the last century would have summarized, a project of pride and modesty in inextricable knot *

The definition is taken from G. Bufalino, Quella difficile anagrafe, in La luce e il mutto, Sellerio, Palermo 1988, p. 23