A total eclipse

Monday 02 Jul 2007

Antonino Cardillo designs the Ellipse 1501 House

Near a rocky slope, behind a thick blanket of pines, lives a house in the shape of a tower. It is not round, but its geometric set-up dilates toward east and west to welcome in the low, warm, extended light of the sun at dawn and dusk.A double wall, made from progressive monolithic castings of lightweight concrete, develops the perimeter of an ellipse, supporting, above, a stretched out, slanting cover. In the internal space between the two walls, an ample interspace comprises the accessory area (stairs to the bedroom, bathroom, boiler, storerooms, cupboard) serving the occupants of the house and contributing to stabilising the temperature of the large central hall.Inside, the original compositional set-up is reinterpreted by means of a cross-sectional system, rotated in plan relative to the largest axes of the ellipse; it co-ordinates several stereometric spaces, including the guest bedroom on the ground floor and the open plan bedroom on the first floor. All around, deep excavations in the outside wall suggest unexpected fleeting routes towards the rocks and the wood on the outside; they break up the sky into a multitude of quadrants. Over the course of days, nights and seasons, the thick reveals of the windows register the changing colours of the celestial hemisphere. Thus the light of the sky makes a mutable architecture, articulating the passing time. So the light colours the space, and changes with itself. In supporting these changes, the fabric remains in its original essence: colourless or tending to grey.From a large window, almost a gate on the sky, over the southerly entrance, the night can be perceived, desiring, the moon dilated and enlarged.

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