Mobile volumes

In the countryside of Noto, a holiday home created by Maria Giuseppina Grasso Cannizzo offers a model solution to the question of finding extra surfaces and volumes.

Grasso Cannizzo was called upon to concretise the "simple but demanding" programme of functional requirements for the vacations of a Milanese city lady—a few extra little rooms with bathrooms for guests, a minimum indoor height of three metres, and, inevitably, a view of the sea from all rooms. However, she immediately observed that she could not resolve all this within the covered surface area permitted under local regulations. As her project description reads, the quest for additional cubic metres was answered by "dividing the total volume into two parts—an official building volume and an additional volume— and then giving movement to the latter". This strategy generated a "variable configuration of the total volume" derived from the additional volume's structural dependence on the official built volume. In this arrangement, the sections and the height of the roof slab are made in such a way as to contain the two volumes and a covered terrace.

The fixed part is the master house, made from prefabricated elements in reinforced concrete. The mobile part, meanwhile, is the guesthouse made with an iron structure. The slidingout of the latter volume is guided by two rails anchored to the load-bearing structure of the terrace. When closed, it enters entirely underneath the overhang of the reinforced concrete roof, becoming the effective closure of the house. Along with a series of pivoting panels and a few rudimental but effective internal devices, this system proves to be a good defence against breaking and entering.
When closed, the house almost seems devoid of details and mouldings, except for the load-bearing structure of the terrace, which is fitted with two rails that carry the mobile volume

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