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Architecture: a house with many eyes overlooking the landscape

(August 2011) Slopes are steep and difficult to negotiate in the tiny town of Ripatransone in the Italian province of Ascoli Picena not far from the Adriatic coastline. Helpers busily collecting building material for recycling were adequately compensated by the picturesque landscape and awesome view.

While planning the new building, architect Fabio Barilari took account of this aspect. „Picture House“ is the name of the project offering a number of surprises at first sight.

The windows, for one, are remarkable. They are constructed in different sizes – no two alike and are mounted in unusual positions.

Fabio Barilari of Barilari Architetti sums up the concept for the façade and the windows like this: „Eyes wide open for the beauty of the surroundings.“ The interior further reveals what he means: the refurbished steps or the wooden recliner invite one „to sit back and look out“.

Unlike at the cinema, where viewers become one with the screen, Barilari provided peepholes and embrasures in the walls next to the picture windows to afford unusual views of scenery and the surrounding nature.

The façade was constructed of old bricks and chunks of natural stone reclaimed for the previous building on the same site. They double as camouflage for the concrete carrying walls. Reclaiming building materials and masonry were common building practice in the poor mountainous regions of Italy.

Fabio Barilari (Italian)

Ripatransone (Italian)

Photos: Fabio Barilari