The atmosphere looks like what Luigi Ghirri used to capture in the Emilian countryside in the 1970s, but we are in the upper Brianza region, at the foot of the Montevecchia hills. In this context, the two brothers Francesco and Paolo Manzoni, founders of the a25architetti studio in 2018, are involved in the renovation and enhancement of the Rifugio del Gelso, a small agricultural building serving the surrounding land.
At the beginning of the 20th century, mulberry trees, along with vines and silk production, were the crops that characterised the hilly landscape, but today the land is worked for different uses such as hay meadows, pasture and corn crops. There are very few mulberry trees left, and one of them is right in front of the Rifugio.
The owner of the house chose to turn the refuge into an unusual meeting place for the inhabitants of the area and himself. Hence the interpretation of the architects who have redesigned and furnished it, making it a special, welcoming and somewhat secret place.
Over the last fifty years the building had been used as a barn and tool shed, adapted and restyled over time as needed. By removing the surface layer of the interventions, the structure of the original farmhouse, made of 'lean' concrete, has been laid bare. The materials added are left raw, simple and authentic. Cement bricks for the infill of the upper part, fir wood for the roof, brick tiles and raw sheet metal for the channels and downpipes.
The existing sheet metal entrance door was painted brass, underlining the precious value of this little refuge, state the designers. After crossing the threshold you enter the shelter furnished with a small table and chairs around it. The ground floor is kept completely blind except for a large window framing the surrounding landscape, whereas the upper floor is used as a tool shed and storage space for hay bales that have already been dried (which is why it was not necessary to keep the walls almost completely open).
The old wall facings of the cross gratings used in the old barns are reinterpreted here, using a protruding brick generating a moving surface that vibrates in the light and becomes part of the rarefied surrounding landscape.
- Il Rifugio del Gelso
- Agricultural Shelter
- Ing.Stefanoni Christian
- Montevecchia, Brianza, North Italy
- Site Area :
- 3.000 sqm
- Built Area:
- 60 sqm