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rural construction in Scarlino. IT
executive project and self-construction
date: august 2004/june 2006
collaboration: C. Curzio , P. Dinoi
publication: d’A n.25, 'Edilizia e Territorio’ 12/07
honorable mention Premio Archès 2004
rural construction in  Scarlino (GR)  
72 square metres: a small building, a large sculpture. The ‘Pensatoio’ is located on a steep slope in an olive grove, below the medieval centre of Scarlino in Maremma. The small scale of this vacation home made it possible to work at a great level of detail, both on the project itself as well as in its execution. The entire construction process was accomplished during two hot summers by 3 determined architect-colleagues who decided to bear the true ‘weight’ of the bricks.
Due to the lot’s orientation towards the north – which means it endures long hours of shade in the winter – the daytime spaces are glazed. The windows are protected by a brise soleil, which is composed of a series of rough, irregularly shaped logs that create a pleasant play of light and shadow. The wooden skin lends a monolithic aspect to the rest of the volume, punctured only to provide access or views.
The high summer temperatures are controlled through a ventilated roof system. From the outside, the roof responds contextually through its traditional pitch, but a more modern language is also introduced through the flat roof below.
Seven hectares of olive trees surround the small building – a contrast of scale that calls to mind a 'Barragan space'. There is an outdoor room, protected and intimate, with a single side opening onto the panoramic view, and a second terrace has been added on the opposite side of the house, ensuring there is always a shaded area during the summer.
To lend a sense of lightness to the interior spaces and bring in natural light, the structure makes use of steel and large surfaces of glass. On the other hand, the materials used for the exterior – a bare stone wall built with excavated materials, a roof-top garden and a pitched roof featuring found tiles and fragments – seek to integrate with the surroundings. The interior temperature is controlled naturally with an 'erdkanal', a 35-metre long underground pipe that exchanges heat and then blows it into the house.