by Jerry ElengicalAug 31, 2022
"When I build, I don’t defeat. There is no betrayal. I proceed by inclusion. Nature invades my projects. She is neither an obstacle nor a hindrance, she is my host whom I celebrate. I adapt to the trees, to the light, to the relief. It’s my way of balancing a modern gesture, architecture, with the tradition of a cliff, a ravine. There is something ancestral with nature. I am moved by it, often. I have so much passion for creating, inventing from an already written history.
Each time, it’s a gamble: to inscribe the building in the original space without shocking anything, moving or mistreating it. It’s an extension, not an amputation.” – Amelia Tavella, Principal Architect, Amelia Tavella Architectes
Such is the grace of skillfully done architectural transformations – abandoned, dying spaces are nursed back to life - extended, not severed, reviving a structure’s spirit. France-based Amelia Tavella Architectes has rebuilt and restored a house from the 1950s in the picturesque French island of Corsica. Located on Tavella’s native island on the Route des Sanguinaires in Ajaccio, Casa Santa Teresa is a gorgeous beachside holiday home injected with new life, with white, expansive interiors speckled with warm, beige coloured woodwork and openings.
True to its location, Casa Santa Teresa is a sun kissed, seaside residence that revels in the landscape it is set within, celebrating beauty, nature and design. The minimally rustic residential design seems to invoke memories of a 'house by the sea', of evenings spent gazing at receding waves and enjoying the salty sea breeze out in an open terrace.
Amelia Tavella Architectes shares that the Corsican resort was rebuilt without leaving behind "vestiges of its past, its soul and its spirit". The house’s stunning coastline location adds onto its appeal, rendered in smooth, ivory white. Clear blue skies drift lazily over the holiday dwelling that overlooks the Mediterranean Sea. A stone terrace peppered with flowers and plants extends out to a pool on its ground level, accompanied by an outdoor dining area. A set of slab steps lead to the beach nearby, that unfolds a few meters away. “It is the quintessential vacation home, the one that haunts my memory of happy childhood,” shares the French architect.
The holiday home’s exterior and interior strike a poetic balance, never separate, depending on the softness and intensity of the sunlight that penetrates through three, massive pivoting framed timber doors and tan coloured, stripped shutters. The interiors seem larger than they actually are, as they are also painted white and have no partitions, providing clear views of the dazzling sea. The spacious, open plan living room involves a cozy fireplace, and has unadorned alcoves that lead to the rooms upstairs via a wooden staircase. “I wanted beauty to flow, to be an invitation to the horizon, to the imagination,” says Tavella.
Pleasure of baths, invasive nature, close proximity to the beach, rocks, the Mediterranean Sea. The house is as if extracted from the city, which is fading in favour of beauty, of silence. – Amelia Tavella
Tavella employs natural, noble materials and colours, as seen in its balcony’s railings, which are made of rope stretched in a triangular sequence. Aqua, orange colored and striped cushions, along with suspended lamps with red and peach bands on them provide a pleasing contrast to the bare walled living room. The interiors also see arched mirrors and curved niches of various sizes, holding lamps, books and various other items, similar to the alcove in the living room. The soft lighting inside accentuates the warm, sensual feel of the summer house, leaving no trace of a former, decrepit structure.
Casa Santa Teresa by Amelia Tavella is a classic summer residence, honouring the Mediterranean resorts in the adjoining area. Tavella brings her own touch by using noble materials such as stone, wood, copper and terracotta, and building with it, a sensual structure in harmony with nature; a house of dreams.
Name: Casa Santa Teresa
Location: Ajaccio, Corsica, France
Year of completion: 2020
Architect: Amelia Tavella Architectes