It was the ruins of ancient Rome that inspired this project, those unpredictable warps that in the eighteenth century appeared to European travellers on the Grand Tour as fantastic visions. Rather than the historic original, what fascinates still today is this state of progressive destruction that a millennial weather carves in the forms, unveiling obscure recesses. So the ruin tells us of time passing, of slowly dying beauty, and in this its slow decay evokes a transverse narrative, as if trapped between the architecture and its definitive destruction.
House of Twelves tries to invent a fantastic response to an interrupted story, following an empirical path made by progressive mutation of contemporary ideas and those of late antiquity, such as the theme of intersecting rings or the horizontal sequence of multiple spaces and forms, concatenated and directed according to a poetic, which unites works of Frank Lloyd Wright with the villa of the emperor Hadrian at Tivoli.
Collisions and juxtapositions, furthermore—distant echoes of the American Center in Paris by Frank Owen Gehry—characterise the front and the public space of the house, whose roundnesses appear, from the road, to be deeply sculpted. As well as restoring thickness to the façade, these excavations make it permeable to the winter sun, which reaches to illuminate—with a grazing light, interpreted by the cavities—the courtyards at the rear. In particular, the living space, with its diaphanous vault in gold mosaic, the ripples of the mirrors of water at the edges and the consequent manifold reflections of light, appears from the main courtyard as a baroque ‘room of light’, here reinvented in an urban key.
Architect: Antonino Cardillo
Client: Laura and Livio De Marchi
Designed from December 2008 to May 2009
Address: Kew, Melbourne, Australia
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House of Twelves © Antonino Cardillo