Professor in Residence, Department of Architecture, GSD, Harvard University, Cambridge MA, USA
By bringing the long-neglected subject of the single-family dwelling back into today’s Italian architectural discourse, this text illustrates that the villa can be understood as both a private dwelling and a place where collective individuality is formed. Three residences designed by Malfona Peltrini Architects in the Roman countryside provide a reading of the suburban villa as a pavilion made up of a core surrounded by a shell. The concept of the pavilion emerged as a country house for pleasurable or health-related purposes, but it eventually lost its domestic dimension and was used to describe an isolated, dismantlable structure erected in a public space or a green environment. Aiming at reassessing the pavilion as a twofold architecture, the design featured here links the concept of a private house to that of a public building. By enveloping a central nucleus with a shell, or a portico, a residential pavilion broadens its domestic dimension to incorporate an institutional and collective status, similar to the Palladian villa where the portico was co-opted from sacred or public buildings and lent to the private residence.