Guardia di Finanza
Arno Brandlhuber


Guardia di Finanza
Arno Brandlhuber


The conversion of Guardia di Finanza in Scopello, Sicily, required the renewal of the building’s use permit. The former police station from the 1970s, owned by the Guardia di Finanza at the time—the Italian costums authority—as a sentinel to oversee the northern gulf, had been abandoned for several years, because it exceeded the maximum permitted building height. By adapting the terrain, the existing structure could be converted to a legal and usable status when it was purchased in 2015. Situated in a fertile delta, the building was overgrown with plants and trees, partly buried under the earth. Due the soil conditions—built half on sand, half on rock and next to a stream—the building sustained structural damages in the form of big cracks. Exposed to the environment, both the exterior and the interior suffered. Still, the structure, a classic concrete framework, was in a good condition, allowing all partitions and non-structural walls to be taken away. Also the wall plaster was removed, exposing the underlying concrete frame structure, with its tufa filling in between which allowed the previously invisible crack in the tuff stone to be repaired.

Following on the approach of opening, all existing northern windows were expanded into room-high sliding doors, giving access to the balconies and the seascape. In order to keep the open feeling of the rooms without losing privacy, accordion partitions made of simple wooden planks were installed for the bath and guest rooms. When closed, the partitions appear as single, seamless walls. Supplied with hinges, parts of the accordion open as doors that nest into the walls’ own geometry, disappearing as a door and acting instead as a partial wall. Despite the fact that the roof was inaccessible upon purchase, both the upper and rooftop levels contained curved concrete balconies that wrapped around the house, suggesting the possible construction of a third level. One flight of stairs was added, allowing for the present usage of the roof as a terrace—over the treetops—revealing a view over the bay and gulf.

(Text: bplus.xyz)



Arno Brandlhuber

bplus.xyz





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