In the heart of the dolomite alps and amongst the most impressive mountain ridges, in a landscape which was formerly and still is defined by agriculture, the small hamlet of Pliscia is situated on more than 3900 feet above sea level. Hamlets are small urban settlements, called ‘viles’ in the regional dialect, a unique cultural & architectural tradition which evolved throughout the centuries in these areas. Characterised in their coherence and independence, each one of these small clusters of houses and farms represent a community, where neighbourhood, solidarity & mutual assistance are qualities which are of fundamental and remarkable significance, still up until today.
Most of the old farms in this hamlet appear to be a pair-style type, consisting of a tenement and a farm house at least. In this respect the two new buildings of ‘la pedevilla’ make no exception. While the residence is inhabited by the architects Armin Pedevilla and Caroline Willeit with their two children, the adjacent chalet is to be let as a holiday home. The latter, in its sense, can be understood as derivation of a former farm building. Both of the respectfully displaced buildings have been integrated into the hillside’s dominant steepness in the most careful manner. Regional ornaments and characteristics, like the gable roof, loggias and the common timber facade were incorporated into the design, yet portrayed deliberately in a most singular and independent rendition.
All structural elements of the buildings have been casted in exposed-concrete with an aggregate of dolomite, which is the most common stone in this particular alpine area. Even the applied types of timber, mainly larch and pine, are of regional origin and have been cut at a nearby forest during a particular phase of the moon, at least one year before commencement of construction.
The outer timber shell with its inbound loggias has been kept consistently in black, a convincing counterpart to the interior surfaces, where white exposed-concrete walls and ceilings are complementing natural & hand-hewn solid timber flooring, windows, doors and furniture at a quite atmospheric and harmonious interaction. In this area the impressive scenery of the dolomite mountain ridges are always present, in fact it even seems to become more convincing to the observer as the view into the landscape is supported by heavy timbered window frames. As mentioned by the architects, due to the materials the interior is generating an entirely familiar & protective ambience, which contrasts the all too often bleak climate of the environment.
Although living habits are changing consistently by the influence of modern society, terms like sustainability & self-sufficiency had to be regarded as precious since generations in these remote mountain regions. Hence, the site has not only its own water source, the buildings even ensure their energetic independency by taking advantage in the usage of geothermal and solar energy.
By considering traditional & cultural values and customise them for our modern life, the building’s reduced architecture is introducing a modern reflection on the farming life of old.