Luigi Moretti architect

“The house is the only space that can disengage us from daily life and from its great or trivial adventures”. Moretti says about his Villa Saracena in an article from 1970.

Luigi Moretti, Villa Saracena, dall'archivio Domus, 1970
A comment on the villa built by Luigi Moretti on the Tyrrhenian coast in 1952. Hermetically sealed from the city, but with interior walls opening towards the sea, it is a ‘Saracen’ villa in its affections and thoughts, and in the people who live there. 

This article was originally published in Domus 483 / February 1970

1952, a villa on the Tyrrhenian coast: 
La Saracena in Santa Marinella

As its layout reveals, this house is divided into two spaces: the living-room and dining area overlooking the coast, and the bedrooms set further back, away from the sea. […] From the terrace on the rocks, in front of the living-room, one descends to the cave at sea level, closed off by the fine gate by Claire Falkenstein, illustrated here. The house is almost hermetically sealed from the street and the city, and this distance is consolidated on the inside with a circular space surrounded by a high wall. The walls facing the sea, meanwhile, have been all but eliminated, replaced with completely retractable shutters. […] The critical examination of a house’s architecture also includes a psychological assessment of relations between the house and the architect’s interpretation “as if the house were for himself”. Indeed, for every worthy client, we architects seek to design something that we would dream of inhabiting ourselves, and I believe this is truly the most reverent gift that an architect can give to the people who will live between “his” walls.  
Luigi Moretti, Villa Saracena, from Domus Archives, 1970
The entrance door under the cantilevered circular terrace. Luigi Moretti, Villa Saracena, from Domus archives, 1970
Rereading Moretti’s words accompanying the villa’s illustrations (“The house is the only space that can disengage us from daily life with others, and from its great or trivial adventures”), it strikes me that this house defends its inhabitants with high walls facing the city, the street and the people, and it opens up to a familiarity with the sea and sky, the eternal view of which allows us to gaze into our souls. This – Moretti adds – is a jealous house, “Saracen” in its affections and thoughts, and in the fine people who live there; it is a house that calms the restless. […] This house – he says – is “like the desire for a different life”, in other words our real, desired life. A house for him, an architect. A house conceived pour rever sa vie et vivre son reve . A house that protects intimate worries with the solid immobility of its walls. 
Luigi Moretti, Villa Saracena, from Domus archives, 1970
The big iron fence by Claire Falkenstein that encloses the cave on the beach. Luigi Moretti, Villa Saracena, from Domus archives, 1970
So, before centring on the architecture itself, the question points to the architecture’s underlying thinking (“Architecture is made with thoughts,” as Nervi says); […] These mighty, closed walls are paradoxically more defensive of an internal fear than of an external threat, since on the nearby street the people rush by without paying us any attention. […] Perhaps things are far simpler, and Moretti was led to this imaginary walled protection and defence from the outside (and inside) by an atavistic love of walls and stones. This passion inspired him to create volumes and spaces in the ecstasy of sunshine and moonlight, in the immensity of the sky and nearby sea, and to shelter grasses, flowers and trees from the wind, pour rever architecture et vivre son reve .
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