House Cinsc in Abitare Magazine
Milan, IT

Restoration at altitude

"In a valley in the Alps, studio ATOMAA has rehabilitated and enlarged an old stone ruin. The essential appearance of the spaces and openings gives the interiors an intimate and contemporary character.

"From old ruin to comfortable residence, blending perfectly into the Alpine landscape of the Val Divedro, so far spared from mass tourism. House Cinsc started out from a traditional rural construction, used seasonally as a cattle shed and hay barn. 'The structure was fairly unstable, in fragile equilibrium', recalls Andrea Del Pedro Pera, responsible for the intervention with his partners Cesare Galligani and Umberto Maj of studio ATOMAA in Milan, 'but reserved some surprises. Like the ample stone arch and the old fireplace on the ground floor, from which it can be deduced that the building was also used as a dwelling.' "

"The project has restored the old form of the barn, consolidated the walls and reconfigured the internal spaces with a well-lit double-height kitchen and an additional block that enriches the original layout. Entrance and living room are located in the new volume, set against the mountain but facing onto the landscape. On the outside the building has retained its original stone walls, as required by the local regulations. The interiors, with their minimal and rigorous design, are intimate and cosy thanks to the extensive use of larch and birch wood for the floors, ceilings, walls and furniture."

“We have reutilized the material of the old ruin almost obsessively,” says Del Pedro Pera. “Discarded stones have been used to build the new walls, the wood of the old roof for the lintels of doors and windows. The retaining walls of the terracing and the new extension use portions of excavated rock. In addition, the external areas have been paved with the piòde (stone slabs, editor’s note) of the old roof. All this thanks to the skill of the local craftsmen.” And where stone and wood couldn’t do the job the architects have turned to concrete, which holds an open dialogue with the main materials of the house, just as in the new volume a pouring of black resin has taken the place of the larch floors."

"Worthy of separate discussion are the numerous openings made to reconstruct the pre-existing ones, or using archetypical geometries. From the completely glazed gable that illuminates from above the kitchen set on an intermediate floor to the arched window that lets light into the bedroom on the lowest level of the house. Spaces for the life of today, in a ‘shell’ that respects the traditions of the region."

Text credits: Luca Trombetta

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