Identity House

← Press

Francesco Steccanella realized a home that does not come to compromises with the surrounding suburban area.
He turns the interferences into design propositions.

Who knows what Calvino would say today going through the lower right riverside of the Tagliamento river, suspended between Friuli and east Veneto region. From the beautiful landscape descriptions of Ippolito Nievo  the boundless plain to the sea has changed a lot.
No more desolated spaces, no more swamps that intersect with the lagoons of the northern Adriatic sea.
As first the swamps drying at the beginning of the last century, then the booming of the Sixties, then the economic adventure of the Italian Northeast have disseminated this part of Italy with infrastructure, industries, workshops and types of small villas. A complete occupation of the whole soil, which created on an extended urban context, which in many places completely replaced the rural aspect. A growth that seamless assimilates small towns, medium and big Italian cities. Our continuum consists of nonspecific aspect of the peripheral urban area.
But in Portogruaro, historical, logistical and industrial center of the Eastern Veneto region, Francesco Steccanella conceived a house that does not come to compromise with its surroundings, reacts with character and transforms the interferences into design propositions. he does not rely on traditional building technologies.

Forced between the sonic impact of railway line Venice-Trieste and a dry-lifting system of the drainage consortium, Grillo’s home is situated on the corner of the lot, as a boxer on the ring, ready to halt the offenses coming from outside. This location allows the young designer to use the most of the southern front, opening it towards the garden. The railway line becomes an element that varies in the landscape, maintained at the maximum possible distance.
The construction of the volumes is articulated around to a dorsal spine placed along the axis east-west, consisting of the access corridor. Towards the south it approaches a low volume becoming a container of daytime activities and open to the light. A two floor structure, under whose barrel roof are the bedrooms, is connected to it on the opposite side. The volumes that results from that structure is simultaneously simple and metaphysics, beyond fashions. Pure geometries that guarantee the maximum efficiency in the management of the day light and that allow you to close almost completely the north side, as a barrier to north winds.

To realize this construction, Francesco Steccanella chose a hybrid dry system, searching for an alternative way to the raging logic of cement bricks. Home Grillo’s has a stainless steel supporting structure, not conspicuous, which is contained within the blocking boxed structure. A multi-layer sandwich devised reworking and adapting the wooden technology of the balloon framing.
A heart made of insulating material sandwiched between different types of external skins (metal for the roof, horizontal wooden axis not treated for external closures) and internal finishing plasterboard are combined with the frames made with softwood studs. A light “stick and box” construction, that
guarantees both the insulation of the interiors and the ventilation of the external walls. And that expresses a clear research desire, even ecological. At the ground level the access to the garden is made through a large patio, which borders the lowest volume. The transitional element, in part arbour expands the internal space, emphasizing the theme of conviviality expressed by the dining area. This approaches towards the outside thanks to the invitation of the non-orthogonal east wall, which hosts a large opening
with unusual pivot shutters with horizontal closure. A slightly offset varying the perspectives.
On the flat roof of the volume facing south, Steccanella creates an hanging garden, partially returning what that took away the ground. Closed between the elements that organize the house and its extensions, the green area becomes a small court, a private and intimate element that gives an absolute dimension to the whole.
To the outside world, just few things. A defensive access protects Grillo’s home from the bustle coming from the contiguous suburbs. Pointing at once, with a rigorous design and refined details that inside there is another world.

Luca Maria Francesco Fabbris
“Costruire” nr. 272, Editorial, January 2006 – Publisher Segesta Milan