Built for a mother and her daughter, this dwelling features local materials and craftsmanship.
High in the Orobie Alps of Northern Italy, nearly a mile above sea level, sat a home in ruins. It was perched on the edge of a mountain with thick woods at its back, but it faced a clear panorama of a valley that swept up to distant peaks. A mother, who works as a French teacher, thought that the ruins could be rebuilt for her and her five-year-old daughter, as long as the surroundings weren’t shut out by ambitious construction. Architect Alfredo Vanotti took up the challenge and meticulously studied the land to inform his sketches. Finally, after months of noting the movement of the sun and the materials in the area—and the ways to blend them with modern conveniences—Vanotti produced a draft that became the new property. He used what he could from the ruins, gathered resources from the woods, and called upon a local craftsman to help build necessities from scratch. In the end, the finished house is a rebirth of the past: it confidently displays traditional sensibilities while updating the day-to-day details.