On a quest for balance and bellissimo, an ancient Italian hamlet has informed this modernist masterpiece by Gardini Gibertini Architects (GGA). GGA has taken the ancient stone walls as their starting point for building new contemporary forms of living and in a country where architectural reinvention is rife, they have expertly restored an alluring dialogue between the past and the present. Sitting pretty on one of the highest points in Urbino, Italy, AP House presents an architectural frame through which its residents can enjoy the tranquil surroundings of the lush Italian ‘campagna’.
The three separate structures that make up AP House each sit composed on a textured red concrete platform that flows through to the interiors. With its traditional tiling and stacked bricks, the ‘farmhouse’ façade of the main home has been stripped from any unnecessary features (including pipes and guttering) and in its place, modern sections of dark timber slats streamline each of the buildings exteriors. As if to echo GGA’s clean-lined approach, a flawless horizon pool in ultramarine sits embedded within the rust-coloured courtyard and even the home’s main entrance and garage have been discretely concealed underground.
The main farmhouse rises three floors up. At a subterranean level, the gym, spa, cinema, and exhibition space make it a designated hub for recreation, health and culture. From the lower level, a set of stairs lead directly up into the ‘heart’ of the main building that opens into one loft-like, light-filled space that easily accommodates the living room, dining room, kitchen and private studio. On the top floor a master apartment and two double ensuite bedrooms provide a retreat for both residents and guests. These two floors perfectly maximise the eternally blue Italian skies and idyllic rolling green meadows- leaving little need for furnishings.
Each window presents an outlook of calming contrast to the presence of the almost brutalist use of concrete throughout the home.
Where the exterior of AP house is traditional, the interior takes a contrasting and contemporary approach. Reinforced concrete walls allow for expansive spaces to be left minimal. However, the notable exception to this scheme is found in the rich patina of the custom built walnut timber furniture that serves as a double act; cleverly concealing service areas, technology or storage facilities.
Aside from flourishes of refined rust and walnut, the interior is mostly muted and tonal and the materials used are robust and warm, which provides plenty of inviting open space for rural reflection. A showcase of counterbalances, this is a home that celebrates the convergence of its unique surroundings, history and modernism all at once. Here, home is where the red concrete slab resides.