An italian contemporary house: a white architecture painted with life.

(Text by Angelica Di Virgilio, all images and drawings courtesy of na3) on YSKIRA.

“La casa all’italiana è come un luogo scelto da noi per godere in vita nostra, con lieta possessione, le bellezze che le nostre terre e i nostri cieli ci regalano in lunghe stagioni. […] è nel darci con l’architettura una misura per i nostri stessi pensieri, nel darci con la sua semplicità una salute per i nostri costumi, nel darci con la sua larga accoglienza il senso della vita confidente e numerosa […]”

Giò Ponti, La casa all’Italiana, Domus, 1928

“The Italian house is the place we have chosen to enjoy our life in, where we happily possess the beauties given us for long seasons by our land and our sky. […] The architecture of the Italian house gives us back the measure of our own thoughts; it encourages healthy habits through its simplicity; its expansive welcome fosters the feeling of a confident, patriarchal life […]”

Giò Ponti, In Praise of Architecture, translation by Giuseppina and Mario Salvadori, F. W. Dodge Corporation, New York, 1960.

In 1928 the above-mentioned words were spoken by Giò Ponti, openly polemizing with the machine à habiter concept by Le Corbusier, to describe the italian house and underline its peculiar features. With the same words we’re pleased to introduce this contemporary italian house designed by the Rome-based studio na3. With the exception of the floor, the whole flat is white and it’s up to the family daily experiences to colour it. The convivial style of the couple, their fondness for books and arts and the children toys put that “comfort” Giò Ponti referred to, into effect. The simile is suggested by the same project designer, architect Nicola Auciello who utters the Ponti’s statements from the book, Amate l’architettura (In Praise of Achitecture, 1957) as starting points to describe his intervention:

1. “THE FLOOR IS A THEOREM” (“To go over it must be an adventure (and more than a pedestrian one)“)

The design of the flooring, with differentiated staves, scans the empty and full building volumes and becomes the main theme of the project.


Top priority has been given to light and to the full view of all heights (both internal – see the children’s playroom – and external).


Relating the world of a room through the interiors architecture: the kitchen and the loft area dedicated to the children’s playroom, two worlds in relationship, looking and reflecting one another. The private world of the children’s area on one side, and the “adult” relax area on the other. (”The space entertainment of architecture”).


A transparent glass ceiling to eliminate all visual restrictions, to look beyond, to see shadows reflected on the ceiling of the master bedroom ( “... the ceiling is the lid of the room; it is its sky“).


The stairway connecting the 4th and 7th level is in the middle of two walls, but detached from the same (”The most beautiful staircase goes from wall to wall enclosed. You see only one flight at a time and do not know where it ends. It might not end at all. It may be made of dark steps and light walls […]“).

This loft merge three flats which were on 4 different levels . “The section, more than the plan” says architect Auciello l’architetto “ was an essential point of reference to distribute the spaces on different height levels, in addition to the different functional requirements by the client. Instead of levelling the heights, Auciello has emphasized this space feature and has designed a brand new intermediate floor overlooking the day area. This latter floor is made of iron and wood with big differentiated staves and stands above the kitchen and the living room in the lengthwise; it offers a relax area in the first section and a playroom space for children in the second one.

“Questa casa all’italiana si può dire limpida come un cristallo […], irta di cose vissute[…]. E’ un cristallo quando è bellissima, semplice, ma ha dentro l’uomo […]: è tanto umana, la casa all’italiana, piena di voci, piena di echi, di vita.”
Giò Ponti, Amate l’architettura, 1957

“The Italian house can be said to be as clear as a crystal,[…] full of living things[…].It is a crystal when it is at its most beautiful and simple but within it is man[…]. But then again the Italian house is so human, so full of voices, of echoes, of life!”
Giò Ponti, In Praise of Architecture, translation by Giuseppina and Mario Salvadori, F. W. Dodge Corporation, New York, 1960