by Jerry ElengicalFeb 19, 2022
When it comes to the ‘landscape’ of residential design and settlements, and the ‘holy ground’ on which they sit, few places would be afforded a more precious site than Kastelaz Hof. Situated in Termeno in South Tyrol, one of the most picturesque provinces in Italy, Kastelaz Hof is then instinctively smitten by that ground, along with drawing instantaneous inspiration from it. Designed by Italian architecture studio Peter Pichler Architecture, the residence harvests its stunning site: atop the Kastelaz vineyard on a small hillock, to complete effect, seeking definitions of its form, function, and everything in between, from the terrain that nestles it. Furthermore, Kastelaz is surrounded by mountain valleys, a forest, and the Caldaro lake, affording 360-degree views to all these enviable avenues, while proving to be a sight on its own.
The project saw its origins in 2018 when PPA won an invited competition to replace an existing structure atop the vineyard with a new villa design for a well-known wine-producing family from the area, Termeno itself being home to the renowned Gewürztraminer wine. Apart from the site itself, perhaps the singularly most definitive element of the residence is its form and geometry, evocative of and evolving from local site conditions. At once linear albeit completely harmonious with the fluidity of a natural landscape such as this one, the profile of the home seems to mimic a tessellated, triangulated version of the hill landscape.
Not only does this geometry allow the residence to expand horizontally in unexpected places, instead of vertically, it also allows Kastelaz to blend within the landscape, despite the house not featuring any outwardly obvious ‘green’ inspiration, much to the merit of its architecture. The result of this design development is a relatively low lying form, pristine in white, almost seamlessly emergent from the landscape, yet perched atop it. Testament to that transition is the fact that Kastelaz isn’t entirely visible from nearby villages near the foothill, but manifests 360-degree views of the entire village settlement in Termeno.
The “ribbon-like” structure of the house, U-shaped in plan, leads to the creation of an internal courtyard that seeks to offer protection from strong winds coming in from Garda Lake, along with serving as the spiritual focus and communal centre of the house, connecting all internal spaces. Spatially, the house is divided into three wings, resulting from its U-shaped plan, boasting enhanced light penetration and connections. A section of the roof profile even descends and bends from its supposed level to merge into the ground to give the impression of the tessellations emerging from the ground itself, to which the house owes its architectural character. The minimally landscaped and pruned courtyard is witness to this and furthers the structure’s bid to connect its residents to its dramatic outdoor environment.
The external materiality of the house furthers the residence’s attempts to blend and be one with the landscape, replicating the existing retaining walls from the surrounding vineyards, originally cast in chalkstone. Alternatively, the interior design scheme of Kastelaz is characterised by an effort to create a warm yet simple, minimal atmosphere. A material continuity, more poignant than literal, is maintained through the house and its outdoors, owing to the generous use of concrete and wood in the residence’s interiors.
Name: Kastelaz Hof
Location: Termeno, South Tyrol, Italy
Architects: Peter Pichler Architecture
Ground Floor Area: 380 sq.m., 340 sq.m. for garage
Project Team: Peter Pichler, Simona Alù, Giovanni Paterlini, Cem Ozbasaran
Construction: Bernard Bau
Engineering: Pföstl & Helfer