House Cinsc in À Vivre Magazine
Quimper, France


A very steep road crosses the mountain to reach a small group of houses perched on a ridge. We are in one of the rare regions spared by mass tourism of the 1950s. Pastures and cultivated fields have given way to dense woods. There, an old stable that has become a ruin, in delicate balance, reserved some surprises for those who were to transform it. Indeed, Andrea Del Pedro Pera, Cesare Galligani and Umberto Maj, founders of the Milanese architecture firm ATOMAA, could not have suspected the presence of a large stone vault and a fireplace on the ground floor, remains of a past residence.

This pass is reactive thanks to the restoration of the old form and the consolidation of the walls, but above all with the development of new places of cohabitation - the kitchen and dining room - at the heart of the existing volume. In order to best serve all rooms of the house spread over the three levels, the architects create a central core of laminated birch plywood that hosts the staircase.

Anxious to integrate the project into its environment, the designers opt for an exterior of stone “where the textures of the walls between old and new intertwine into a single stitch, reconstructed by hand, stone by stone". The interior is more of a wooden box inserted into the stone envelope: floors, walls and ceilings are composed of elements from old floor-boards and deteriorated roof beams, or larch of the valley, when needed. The result, therefore, is that more sober, rigorous, and minimal.

At nearly 1,400 meters above sea level, northwest of the Italian Alps, a ruin typical of the region previously housed cattle and hay. The Milanese architects of ATOMAA transformed it into an elegant contemporary house of great sobriety. And to do this, they use every stone and piece of wood found on site.

ATOMAA transforms a ruined stable into a contemporary house without betraying its past thanks to respect for volumes and materials. The exterior retains its stone body blending with the landscape, while the interior offers a new intimate and warm wooden cocoon.

Reuse is a key element of the project: the walls were built with the stones of the old disused parts, the lintels of the doors and windows with the wood of the old roof; the retaining walls of the terraces as well as the volume of the extension erected from portions of excavated rock.

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