La “nave” che salpa verso il paesaggio alpino: villa Borsotti a Balme

The “ship” that sets sail for the alpine landscape: Villa Borsotti in Balme

The project for Villa Borsotti, whose construction ended in 1932, is the result of a collaboration between the architect Umberto Cuzzi and the artist Gigi Chessa, who built this small house at the edge of the village of Balme in Val d’Ala di Lanzo, in the area surrounding Turin. The essay focuses on the genesis of the project, with reference to the cultural and professional context within which the protagonists have worked. In terms of the relationship between the external aspect and its location in the Alpine context, the building seems to be characterized by the presence of two apparently opposite tendencies. On the one hand, the building looks for a contextualization in the mountain landscape through the declination in local key of a rationalist language, with a modern use of local dialect, composed of “lemmas” from the Alpine building tradition (stone masonry, wooden infill, bipartition between stone basement and wooden upper floor, etc.). At the same time, thanks to the bending configuration of the plan and the ribbon window, the surrounding environment also “enters” the house and becomes an integral part of it. On the other, the house seems to pursue the effect of alienation from the context through the conscious research of a formal autonomy with which the object “lands” in the natural framework of the valley. Another interesting trait of the house is the treatment of interiors according to the idea of configuring a wrap-around environment in which architecture and interior design are strongly intertwined.