Kastelaz Hof by Peter Pichler Architecture is a geometric, landscape-inspired dwelling

Located atop a quaint South Tyrol vineyard, the villa by Peter Pichler Architecture draws its geometric, low-lying form from the terraced landscape surrounding it.

by Anmol AhujaPublished on : Nov 29, 2021

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 villa’s form develops as a response to the hilly landscape and conditions | Kastelaz Hof | Peter Pichler Architecture | STIRworld
    The villa’s form develops as a response to the site’s landscape and conditions Image: Gustav Willeit
  • Kastelaz Hof’s site and positioning in Termeno affords the residence stunning 360 degree natural views, and of the settlement beneath | Kastelaz Hof | Peter Pichler Architecture | STIRworld
    Kastelaz Hof’s site and positioning in Termeno affords the residence stunning 360 degree natural views, and of the settlement beneath Image: Gustav Willeit
  • The spatial form of the residence is defined as “ribbon-like”, U-shaped in plan, leading to the creation of three distinct wings | Kastelaz Hof | Peter Pichler Architecture | STIRworld
    The spatial form of the residence is defined as “ribbon-like”, U-shaped in plan, leading to the creation of three distinct wings Image: Gustav Willeit
  • Kastelaz Hof also features a sizeable garage, ensconced within the terrain beneath the house, accessed through the house’s rear | Kastelaz Hof | Peter Pichler Architecture | STIRworld
    Kastelaz Hof also features a sizeable garage, ensconced within the terrain beneath the house, accessed through the house’s rear Image: Gustav Willeit

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.

  • The external materiality of the house is also an attempt for it to blend with its surroundings, replicating retaining walls from surrounding vineyards in chalkstone | Kastelaz Hof | Peter Pichler Architecture | STIRworld
    The external materiality of the house is also an attempt for it to blend with its surroundings, replicating retaining walls from surrounding vineyards in chalkstone Image: Gustav Willeit
  • The U-shaped plan leads to the creation of a courtyard that serves as an extension of the landscaped outdoors into the residence | Kastelaz Hof | Peter Pichler Architecture | STIRworld
    The U-shaped plan leads to the creation of a courtyard that serves as an extension of the landscaped outdoors into the residence Image: Samuel Holzner
  • A section of the roof profile bends to merge into the ground to give the impression of the tessellations emerging from the ground itself | Kastelaz Hof | Peter Pichler Architecture | STIRworld
    A section of the roof profile bends to merge into the ground to give the impression of the tessellations emerging from the ground itself Image: Samuel Holzner

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 residence is also able to achieve a number of such intimate corners through a subtle interplay of internal levels, with respect to the terrain outside | Kastelaz Hof | Peter Pichler Architecture | STIRworld
    The residence is also able to achieve a number of such intimate corners through a subtle interplay of internal levels, with respect to the terrain outside Image: Gustav Willeit
  • Wide glass façades are designed to frame and highlight the surroundings and to let the landscape enter the indoor spaces while maintaining internal privacy | Kastelaz Hof | Peter Pichler Architecture | STIRworld
    Wide glass façades are designed to frame and highlight the surroundings and to let the landscape enter the indoor spaces while maintaining internal privacy Image: Gustav Willeit
  • Warm, soft tones in wood, concrete, and terrazzo characterise the house’s interior palette, meant as a more abstract continuation of the house’s external white neutrality | Kastelaz Hof | Peter Pichler Architecture | STIRworld
    Warm, soft tones in wood, concrete, and terrazzo characterise the house’s interior palette, meant as a more abstract continuation of the house’s external white neutrality Image: Gustav Willeit

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.

  • Kastelaz Hof: Floor plans | Kastelaz Hof | Peter Pichler Architecture | STIRworld
    Kastelaz Hof: Floor plans Image: Courtesy of Peter Pichler Architecture
  • Kastelaz Hof: Longitudinal section | Kastelaz Hof | Peter Pichler Architecture | STIRworld
    Kastelaz Hof: Longitudinal section Image: Courtesy of Peter Pichler Architecture
  • Kastelaz Hof: Transverse section | Kastelaz Hof | Peter Pichler Architecture | STIRworld
    Kastelaz Hof: Transverse section Image: Courtesy of Peter Pichler Architecture

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.

02 mins watch Video walkthrough of Kastelaz Hof, showcasing the stunning avenues afforded by the residence, along with how the form emerges as a response to the terrain | Kastelaz Hof | Peter Pichler Architecture | STIRworld
Video walkthrough of Kastelaz Hof, showcasing the stunning avenues afforded by the residence, along with how the form emerges as a response to the terrain Video: Gustav Willeit, courtesy of Peter Pichler Architecture

Project Details

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
MEP: Energytech

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