VILLA DELLA REGINA
collaborators : Giorgio Renzi, Marco Scapin


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Villa della Regina used to be an instrument of pleasure. Languidly resting on the Turin hills, this "pleasures home" offered to guests and residents a fine setting for leisure and society skirmishes, between rooms paneled with lacquered and golden wood, Italian gardens, water games, dramatic pavilions and caves.

Villa della Regina used to be an instrument of production. For the enterprising mercantile middle class vineyards represented more a source of agricultural income rather than leisure landscapes. The hill had been “tamed” and ordered into gardens, woods and vineyards.

Villa della Regina used to be an instrument of knowledge. A pavilion in the park represented an ideal venue for the meetings of the group of intellectuals related to the original owner, Cardinal Maurizio. Its sheer location made it a powerful means of observation of life and neighborhoods that teemed across the River Po.

Villa della Regina, a charming scenic backdrop, with the passage of time and owners has been the subject of a particular phenomenon of collective removal. This phenomenon coincided with a lack of maintenance and inappropriate interventions, war damages and partial demolitions. The complex in the last decades has been stifled by weeds and has become unusable due to the worsening state of conservation of buildings, decorations and greenery. The collapse, in recent years, was near.

Since 1994 a strong effort towards architectural, historical, artistic and botanical restoration brought back Villa della Regina to its central role in Turin panorama. The renewed usability and enjoyment of the historic building and its spectacular outbuildings have therefore emphasized the need for modern spaces for the reception of visitors.
The design of the new building is based on a clear layout. The size and interrelation of the rooms are reminiscent of the elegant classical surroundings, not yielding to the easy temptation of isotropic, totally open and ambiguously flexible spaces.

The main hall hosts reception and institutional programs. This vaulted and airy space stands in dialogue with the garden and the villa, introducing visitors to the rooms of the historic building and acting as a distribution space to the service rooms (entrance, cloakroom, restaurant and bar, bookshop). A cosy interior garden acts as a filter between the rooms open to the public and the maintainance staff ones. This at the same time becomes the place where rainwater is collected and preserved. The composure of the architectural facade that communicates with the eighteenth-century garden gives way to a more informal roof garden design.While the front is hard and austere, the roof is spongy and exuberant. This can be reached through a spiral staircase, an elevator or several paths through the park. At the top level finds place a loose matrix of plants and terraces open to the public, visible from the surroundings. This choice reflects also the conviction that the roof design is, in this context and given the topography of the complex, probably even more relevant than the design of facades. The same plants, with the passing of the seasons, give the building a lively character, thanks to the continuos evolution of the colors of greenery. The presence of vegetation and the design of this thick and porous roof, with permeability characteristics similar to those of cultivated land, ensure considerable comfort and high energetic performances.

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Thanks to superb views towards the city and the creation of contemporary and appropriate services, the large main hall and the roof can become places to accommodate social events and recreational programs, independent from the Villa's cultural institution. Villa della Regina aims in this way to become one of the shiniest jewels of the "Green Crown" of Turin.

 

Garden views :

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Internal views :

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Night views :

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