Koelnmesse GmbH / FSB
Koelnmesse GmbH / FSB
Koelnmesse GmbH / FSB

Residential

Out on a limb

A 10m-high ficus tree takes centre stage in the design for this unique home by Carlo Ratti


Bringing the outside in has been taken to another level with the design for this private residence near Parma in northern Italy. Unveiled recently by Carlo Ratti, the home has been conceived around a 50-year-old ficus tree, which grows through the main living area.

All around the tree, a sequence of interconnected rooms creates six stepped spaces, each of them dedicated to a specific activity: these include a space for practicing yoga, a dining area, a reading space, a wine cellar and a place for storing dry cured ham for ageing.

“We wanted the design to reflect our innate biophilia, the natural impulse to connect with other forms of life,” said Carlo Ratti, founding partner at Carlo Ratti Associati and director of the MIT Senseable City Lab at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). “We’re trying to imagine a new domestic landscape built around the rhythm of nature.”

The dining room sits at the base of the 10m-high glass wall; it’s built slightly below ground level so that the top of the table is level with the grass outside and diners can look out onto the land.

Construction on the farmhouse is due to start in 2019.

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Koelnmesse GmbH / FSB
Koelnmesse GmbH / FSB