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LM House finds its place amidst the Dolomitic Alps, also known as the Dolomites, a mountain range located in northeastern Italy. Home to several nature parks, as well as numerous ski resorts and UNESCO World Heritage sites, the Dolomite range is a popular destination for outdoor activities such as skiing, hiking, and rock climbing. Inhabited since prehistoric times, the region has been shaped by a diverse array of cultures and civilisations over the centuries. The site is situated in Cortina d’Ampezzo, a town in the southern part of the Dolomites and has a unique blend of Italian and Austrian cultures, owing to the town's history as a border region between the two countries. This is remarkably reflected in the local architecture that features elements of both styles.
The local architecture is influenced by the region's cultural history and natural environment. Wooden balconies, stone walls, and slate roofs are typical as well as some of the most notable features that blend seamlessly with the surrounding landscape. Recent developments in the architecture of the Dolomites reflect a more modern aesthetic and a dynamic and evolving approach to design. One that incorporates both traditional elements and new techniques and materials to create structures that are both beautiful and functional in the contemporary world.
Parisotto + Formenton Architecture studio, based in Milan, portrays a certain understated elegance in their projects. Their works are characterised by a humanistic approach, where people who navigate the spaces or use different objects lie at the centre of the design process. The 250 square metre, three-storey wooden house sits at the site of a pre-existing building that was pulled down before constructing anew. The new structure and floors are made using the X-Lam technology1 with 10cm panels that are clad with a thermal insulation layer on the outside and a plasterboard layer inside that houses the pipings and conduits inside. Program-wise, two underground floors are designated to a cinema room and a five-car garage. The ground floor accommodates the social areas such as the living and dining room and the kitchen, as well as some service areas. The first floor and attic house more private areas like bedrooms with en suite bathroom and a wardrobe, and a living room; most with access to panoramic views of the dolomites from the expansive balconies.
The lower levels of the house have a rough plaster finish, which creates an intriguing contrast to the natural larch wood cladding on the upper floors. This choice of material is not only visually appealing, but it also enables the house to age gracefully, creating a dynamic relationship with its surroundings that is both organic and unique to its context. In addition, some of the internal surfaces are clad in solid pinewood, which exudes warmth and character. The flooring is made from local Valmalenco Stone, further enhancing the sense of place and creating a connection to the region's natural beauty.
Overall, the residential design of the house is warm and inviting, with a careful balance of local reclaimed furniture pieces and French design items. From the concept phase, the main objective was to create a space that would cater to the needs of a family, with intimate moments of a lifetime being the focus, set within a typical alpine atmosphere with a contemporary twist. The end result is a space that seamlessly blends old-world charm with modern amenities, resulting in a truly unique and memorable home.
An inside-out approach, with an emphasis on the lived experience of the spaces dictates the genesis of LM House. Furthermore, the architectural typology and the form precisely respond to the surrounding context albeit uniquely uninhibited from the rural residential architecture of this area of the Italian Alps. Nevertheless, the whole project encompasses an approach that showcases a contemporary take on a timeless language specific to the local alpine architecture.
1.X-Lam aka cross-laminated timber(CLT), a construction system that is used to build multi-storey houses with a load bearing wooden structure made up of solid wood panels in crossed layers glued together under high pressure and temperature to form large, solid panels.
Name: LM House
Location: Cortina d’Ampezzo, Italy
Architects: Parisotto + Formenton Architetti Studio
Year of Completion: 2022
Lighting design: Twenty4Seven, Christian Liagre
Outdoor lighting: Viabizzuno
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