Mountains soar into the sky in the background and it almost seems as if the small, single-family house in Sand in Taufers, Italy, would try to trace the rugged, irregular contour of the Alpine peaks. The house is built out of local and natural materials like clay blocks.

Project details

Project

Haus am Mühlbach, South Tyrol, Italy

Architect

Pedevilla Architects

Client

Private

Used products

Porotherm PLAN 50

Year of completion

2014

white house mountains nature river Haus am Muehlbach

Haus am Muehlbach, Italy © Gustav Willeit Photography

white pentagon shaped house in front of mountains Haus am Muehlbach

Haus am Muehlbach, Italy Gustav © Willeit Photography

modern white facade brick building windows front view Haus am Muehlbach

Haus am Muehlbach, Italy Gustav © Willeit Photography

interior windows mountains wood white walls Haus am Muehlbach

Haus am Muehlbach, Italy © Gustav Willeit Photography

interior white walls wood table stools Haus am Muehlbach

Haus am Muehlbach, Italy © Gustav Willeit Photography

In relation to location and environment

From some vantage points the white monolith fits harmonically into the natural surroundings; from others, however, it has the effect of a lonely castle keep or one of those manor houses proudly placed into the landscape, which are so common in South Tyrol, Austria. Especially dramatic is the perspective seen from the whooshing Mühlbach stream, which nestles around the house like a chillingly cold passe-partout.
 
Location and history must always bear a relation to each other. This also means that we indeed create modern, contemporary architecture, but this is always based on the traditional art of building and classical craftsmanship. Pedevilla Architects

Combining past and present

“We place importance on the fact that our architecture establishes a connection between today and the world of yesterday,” says Armin Pedevilla, who runs the Pedevilla Architects office together with his brother Alexander. “Location and history must always bear a relation to each other. This also means that we indeed create modern, contemporary architecture, but this is always based on the traditional art of building and classical craftsmanship.” The so-called “House on Mühlbach” melds these apparent opposites into a perfect, precisely designed composition.

Monolithic building

A solidly bricked pentagon that pulls itself over a total of seven split levels up under the roof constitutes the basic shape. 50-centimeter-thick clay blocks were used to do this. On the outside, the solid clay block structure is draped in a coarse plaster dress made of lime, white cement and local sands, lending the house a unique mixture of rough dullness and glittering precision. “South Tyrol is a very tradition-conscious region,” Pedevilla points out, “and we try to respect that. From our long-term experience, we know that manually-applied, mineral plasters blend well with the townscape and landscape, and are also well-accepted by the local population.”

Local materials

The façade is structured by variously sized, square window openings, which are freely distributed across the large wall surfaces. The location and size of the windows were carefully geared to
the space utilization, the furnishings and the view. Details in opaquely waxed bronze and coarsely scraped Elmwood for the entrance door set elegant accents. Topping everything off are rhombus-
shaped roof tiles made by hand from white cement and dolomite sand and then sand-blasted. Natural materials create a good interior climate and their combination creates a comfortable oasis in the midst of the mountains.

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