Between Archetype and Model

Marco Zanuso

While very different from one another, these two houses share a particular approach to residential design, proposing a bond with an almost primordial nature. The twin vacation homes on the Bay of Arzachena in Sardinia and the Press House in Lydenburg, South Africa speak of a communion with the atmospheres determined by the landscapes in which they are located, are one storey in height and firmly rooted to the site, with a visceral attachment to the ground. The twin seaside homes feature a square plan: the four corners are marked by four autonomous stone volumes, three bedrooms and a dining room with sliding corner windows. The resulting Greek cross void of this composition is partially occluded by the kitchen, communicating with the dining area, by the oven and by a toilet accessible only from the exterior. Outdoor space is designed for communal living, with a table shaded from the sun by a trellis of wood beams supporting a filtering mat of reeds. The same attention can be found in the large home in Lydenburg, where a series of parallel walls define a very elongated plan; at the centre are the spaces of the living room from which a series of “diapason” branch out; between long walls in natural stone they contain the other internal spaces and outdoor spaces hosting “wild” gardens, a fish pond and a swimming pool. Inside these visual tunnels pointed toward the desert hills spontaneous vegetation penetrates in all directions, onto the roof. All of the other spaces feature exposed natural stone walls, wood plank floors and ceilings. The most characterising elements of this large villa are its long stone canyons inhabited by an alternation of liveable spaces and gardens that literally project from the central nucleus. The central part of the elevation facing the valley presents a series of stone buttresses that create a shaded portico. Viewed from a distance the house is perfectly integrated within the undulating landscape of hills.

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