The Casa Albero [The House in the Trees] in Fregene

The Casa Albero [The House in the Trees]
Photo: Andy Tye from French+Tye via dezeen

In 1968, architects Giuseppe Perugini, his wife Uga De Plaisant and their son Raynaldo (enrolled in the Faculty of Architecture) bought some land in Fregene to build their summer home. The result was a rare and unquestionably unique case of family do-it-yourself design.

Photo: Andy Tye, French+Tye via dezeen

Situated in the Fregene pine forest, elevated above the ground and supported by exposed beams and pillars, this house gives the impression of being suspended among the trees and resembles a tree itself. In fact, the house, which is known as Casa Albero, is experimental both in its form and the choice of materials used, which recall Brutalist architecture. It was more than just a domestic hideaway where the family wanted to test an organic relationship with the surrounding nature, but also one of the first attempts at research into a new architectural language, proposing an alternative to the classic family dwelling.

The construction, which stands in sharp contrast to the more traditional dwellings around it, is immediately striking for its unique conformation: the Casa, conceived with an open and infinite modular structure, is made of rough unfinished concrete, glass and steel. La Palla or The Ball, one of its most distinctive features, a sphere of 5 meters in diameter conceived as an external appendage, is itself an example of a living structure, a perfect form and symbol of cosmic completeness and perfection, outfitted as an independent house. The Cubetti or Cubes, located on different floors, could ideally be extended infinitely according to a concept of modularity and repetition. This is where the bedroom, living room, kitchen and bathrooms were.

After the death of the architect Perugini, followed by that of his wife, the family visited the house less and less. The building began to deteriorate with the passage of time, and its interior and exterior were damaged by neglect and vandalism.

However, just recently, restoration work on part of the house has been completed, and a plan has been set in motion to fully restore the complex. The aim is to make the Casa accessible and usable for cultural initiatives compatible with the building. This is an excellent idea, as the Casa Albero is not only a fantastic building that has no restrictions and constraints, but also an important example of how architecture does not have to impose on the surrounding nature, but can be truly integrated into it.

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