House Rocco, al Forn and Vedola

Conversion and restoration of a settlement in Fusio

These buildings – the surviving evidence of an ancient civilisation and age-old experience based on solid moral values – had been abandoned, forgotten and unloved for many decades. The opportunity to think about them again, the effort involved in consolidating traditional elements by using materials found in the area, such as wood and stone, without repeating or, even worse, improvising techniques used in the past, amounted to a major challenge. I felt I had to set aside any feelings of indifference and accept the huge responsibility of conserving environmental forms, and retaining consistency between the use of space and emotions. I had an intense feeling of respect for these buildings constructed as a response to the demands of everyday work, the need for a humble yet solid dwelling, possibly constructed without any accurate measurements or drawings but in tranquil harmony with nature, without losing sight of the atavistic need to make as many savings as possible in terms of time and labour, capital to be invested in the impelling needs imposed by living in those times.

The huge responsibility of conserving the use of space – perfectly distributed – devoting special attention to the exteriors and to the accesses to each house, ran alongside my desire to protect the feelings and emotions I felt emanating from those ancient walls, evoking not only memories and recollections but also lessons about life which still apply and are profoundly meaningful.

- Presentation Board (.pdf)

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This is how a well-organised and particularly well-researched plan came into being in relation to these living units, which were once byres and mountain huts for peasants, created from an architecture based on instinct, associated with, and dependent on, nature and now preserved for the foreigner, the philosopher, the common man who wishes to spend his free time there meditating, accepting, growing, changing, working with technology or idling away his time listening to the water, the wind, his own steps, isolating himself or remaining in contact with the world via cutting edge technology and, why not, setting aside a space where he can be assured of absolute silence in order to rethink his own journey through this world. The material needed to reconstruct was associated with a love for the history of the country, admiration for all the different styles and strong vibrations which can be felt, but the commission also had to form part of a larger project for reviving this wonderful upper valley. The decision to base the actual development mainly on architectural aspects and on the requirements of living was, and is, a trump card, expanding its appeal to provide greater conviction in terms of tourism and culture. The time is the present, the here and now.

When an inexorable decline is perceived, the only way to combat it is to reconvert the structures themselves by means of plans for restoring buildings which have fallen into disuse, and to make the most of the resources already present, thus creating a different imprint on the current and future countryside. Although many of the original features of the buildings are retained, contemporary elements are an emphatic aspect of the restoration, showing how the countryside is changing and that in order to retain consistency with the past it is necessary to invest in taste, in beauty, in what is unique, in cutting-edge technology, in innovative projects. Consequently the buildings are equipped with services capable of satisfying the most modern demands, with Internet connections and any other requirements in terms of modern technology. The aim of the project was to respect the nobility of the existing structures, with rigour and simplicity, while solving the problems associated with restoring buildings in a condition of advanced static and functional deterioration. The new interventions can be seen in the adapted interior of the building, with the outer shell retaining its historical origins. Special finishing touches of the highest standard complete the restoration, producing a unified, comfortable and practical result. The typology of the buildings is characterised by the presence of a variety of structures. The stone outer walls constitute a solid and irregular shell, typified by the presence of volumes and openings dating from different ages.

The internal structures have been developed on different levels and the interiors have given an essential and more rational functionality to the ancient living spaces, with a new equilibrium thus being created, characterised by the dialogue between two strong and precise structures, ancient and modern, which interact between each other in a play of light, superposition, materials and sounds. The new relationship of this settlement of buildings set in the countryside has been strengthened now they have been integrated in a more inspiring way, thus improving their individual qualities. Upper Vallemaggia is a modest region, which does not like to show off, but looking after it carefully has always been a predominant concern of the art of living, as can be seen from the historical buildings and the architectural details which have been carefully researched and structured. The man from the mountains needs to make more effort than others to improve his own conditions or to make money but, at the same time, he must be aware that his own region can be a source of strength for the community. The coming together of individual wishes and the collective purpose is the most powerful driving force for change and development in history, the unmistakeable sign of success. Unfortunately it is this synergy which often gets lost with the passing of that moral inspiration which was the source of success and growth in the past. There could be a solution: our society must once again accept that there can be no growth without risk. We do not have to protect every single thing we find in absolute terms, but there are risks which all of us must learn to accept and closely examine.

Insights
03.09.2010Häuser ModernisierenAus Liebe zum Steinde
2010EingängeRustico "Rocco" - Roger Mandlde
10.2007HelvetissimoHelvetissimo - Casa Rocco, Casa al Forn, Casa La Vedolait / en / de / fr
09.2007HelvetissimoHelvetissimo - L'architecture au service de l'historie et de l'avenirde / fr
05.2007Cantieri & AbitareRiattazione e trasformazione nucleo, Fusio (Vallemaggia)it
02.2007Vivere la MontagnaRelazione, trasformazione e riattazione di un nucleo a Fusio-Vallemaggiait
02.2007Living is LifeIl rustico nobilitatoit
30.01.2007Giornale del PopoloOcchi aperti su Fusioit
01.2007BaumeisterSanierung und Umbau Casa Rocco,Casa al Forn, Casa La Vedola in Fusio/Tessinde

Giovan Luigi Dazio
Architetto

Via Ramogna 14 | 6600 Locarno
T. +41 (0) 91 751 63 82
N. +41 (0) 79 409 83 63
F. +41 (0) 91 752 23 19
E. glddazio@gld-dazio.ch