Contemporary design on medieval communes
The top of one of the highest hills in Urbino, Italy, bears the rebirth of an ancient rural hamlet. Built on top of the remains of Medieval communes, these stone-shelled buildings take a seemingly logic position in regard to the surroundings of the Marche region while standing out in the landscape, overlooking the sloping hills.
Photography by Ezio Manciucca.
The ‘AP House’, designed by Gardini Gibertini Architetti, is an example of contemporary design at its best. A combination of different materials, lots of natural light and attention to ecology and sustainability.
In the basement, among technical and plant areas, a gym and a spa, you find an exhibition gallery. The appearance of the rectangle-shaped space is highly influenced by the positions of the multiple pivoting doors, all fitted with FritsJurgens pivot hinge systems.
As is usual for contemporary architecture, ecological aspects of the home have been thought through thoroughly. The energy supplying this house is only electrical and fully guaranteed by an extensive photovoltaic system. This system has been embedded in the grounds under the structures, hidden away.
The natural walnut wood that has been used for the furniture design is a warm element within its concrete surroundings. The design of some of the larger walnut panels in combination with the natural lighting from well-placed windows creates contrasts between light and dark and beautifully but subtly indicates the purpose of each panel.
Concrete with a twist
The reinforced concrete can be found throughout the entire house. The structure of the wood imprint takes away any heaviness the concrete might impose on the atmosphere and allows for a light, naturally lit and open space.
Rural cultural matrix
The red floor is a consistent element, inside as well as outside. The three levels of the building rest on this red concrete platform of 38 x 20 meters, creating a contrast with the green tones of the landscape.
The exterior of the buildings, however, is free from anything that could possibly draw the attention away from the architecture, such as gutters or drainpipes.
As described by Gardini Gibertini Architetti: “The structures are offered to the landscape as pure, discreet and silent artifacts recovering their identity and affinity with the rural cultural matrix of the place.”
The AP House showcases well-executed contemporary architecture and design and a magnificent amount of attention to detail. Remarkably contemporary and yet in touch with the historical stratification of its surroundings, the hills of Urbino have received a wonderful addition.