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Historic Residential Garden


The project is based on the research of historic architectural and landscape characters of the site.

Castel San Pietro Romano is placed on 800 meters of altitude, in the ancient acropolis of Praeneste (by now Palestrina) a small town distant 70 km from Rome.

It is a small compact town, characterized by narrow  street and house coated with raw plasters. The ancient walls surround the town, starting from the fortress (Colonna’s Fortress builded before the year 1000.)  and they are characterized  by a series of accretions built starting from the ’50 jutting out on the main road.

The landscape that surrounds the town its mainly dry and composed by plants of rosemary, bushes of blackberries, olive trees and yellow brooms.

The historic garden follows the pomerio of the ancient walls, and it’s composed by  four layers, connecting transversely the street that surround the town with the historic center placed in the highest point of the city.

The vertical development of this void allows to a fantastic view on the brooms valley, it also organized the access on several levels. The walls at the garden once contained an ancient water cistern, now used as a space attached to the house.

Before the restructuring project the walls were hidden by plaster and existing structures. After the first demolition of the existing structures (of 1950s), it was possible to bring to light the historic wall, allowing it entry inside the house through a long vertical window that connect all the several levels of the house. A second intervention was focused on the design of the external space through the organization of several terraces on different levels, where were planted local plants.

Is it possible to access to the garden from two entrances, one by a small iron gate placed on the lowest level, another through the historic center square localized on the highest point of the house.

The different substructures are connected with a stair made by iron and grilled keller, as happens in the archeological areas. Another element characterizing the sequence of hanging gardens is the water that can already be perceived by opening the iron gate.

First of that is a small pool on which lush rosemary plants protrude. Second is a large fountain as traditional watering hole placed in a void terrace with two sunbeds BREEZ designed by Karim Rashid (level 1,00).

Going along a small path on a first terrace containing gravel, a bench and an olive tree, it you then enter on the third level, containing three flowerbeds characterized by the presence of brooms, cut out inside a cement tile floor. Finally, through a last iron staircase you reach the large panoramic terrace (+6.60) which overlooks the valley of the brooms also this paved (floating floor) with cement tiles. The lighting takes places mainly from the bottom through the placement of spotlights placed in the water tanks, in the gravel and in the different floors. At the level of the panoramic terrace the spotlights are instead placed on the perimeter wall of terrace itself. An iron and glass table designed by altro_studio is placed in the same terrace.

The garden as a whole is consciously simple, almost spontaneous elementary. Nature is allowed to regain possession of its spaces once taken away improperly by man.

Architect : Anna Rita Emili

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