Marcellise: Villa Il Girasole (Italy)

Villa Il Girasole

Via Mezzavilla, 1, 37036 Marcellise VR, Italy

Angelo Invernizzi (1929-35)

'Il Girasole' by Angelo Invernizzi 02_Stephen Varady Photo ©

I first saw an article about this house, written by New York architect Tod Williams, in U.S. House & Garden Magazine in the 1980s. It took over 20 years, but eventually I found myself in Verona, rented a car and drove 20 minutes to Marcellise where I found ‘Il Girasole’ (The Sunflower), rising out of the vineyards.

'Il Girasole' by Angelo Invernizzi 03_Stephen Varady Photo ©

I was fortunate to have the housekeeper escort me around the outside of the house, but I was not allowed inside. It is an incredible feat of architecture and engineering, and in today’s environmentally aware world, it should be far better known and learned from.

'Il Girasole' by Angelo Invernizzi 04_Stephen Varady Photo ©

Villa Il Girasole sits on a circular concrete base that houses the basement and parking levels, and is a composition of two rectangular wings set at right-angles to each other with a circular tower at the corner, acting as a fulcrum point.

'Il Girasole' by Angelo Invernizzi - construction photo

The house is constructed as a framed concrete structure with lightweight wall construction and screw-fixed aluminium panels as the exterior cladding, reminiscent of early ships and aeroplanes.

'Il Girasole' by Angelo Invernizzi 07_Stephen Varady Photo ©

'Il Girasole' by Angelo Invernizzi 08_Stephen Varady Photo ©

The most fantastic feature of the house is that it moves! Set on 15 sets of wheels running on 3 sets of rails, the entire building revolves to follow the sun throughout the day (reportedly at 4mm per second and powered by two three-horsepower engines). These wheels and motors are still in working order.

'Il Girasole' by Angelo Invernizzi 09_Stephen Varady Photo ©

'Il Girasole' by Angelo Invernizzi 10_Stephen Varady Photo ©

'Il Girasole' by Angelo Invernizzi 11_Stephen Varady Photo ©

Such an intelligent idea, resolved in an impressive manner. It is surprising that this concept has not been pursued in any serious manner since the house was completed. It is also surprising that this project has not received far greater recognition.

'Il Girasole' by Angelo Invernizzi 13_Stephen Varady Photo ©

'Il Girasole' by Angelo Invernizzi 14_Stephen Varady Photo ©

'Il Girasole' by Angelo Invernizzi 16_Stephen Varady Photo ©

The aluminium cladding panels allow the façade to be more forgiving for the rolling movement or for potential shifts due to changes in temperature.

'Il Girasole' by Angelo Invernizzi 17_Stephen Varady Photo ©

'Il Girasole' by Angelo Invernizzi 19_Stephen Varady Photo ©

You may like to have a look at this Italian TV report, including early news footage of Il Girasole, and this documentary video.

 

Further Information:

Place: Turismo + ArchInform. Villa Girasole is currently owned by the Invernizzi Foundation and the Architecture Academy of Mendrisio (Switzerland).

Architect: Angelo Invernizzi (with Ettore Fagiuoli, Romolo Carapacchi, Fausto Saccorotti)

Photographer: Stephen Varady (scans from slides)

Review: Architectuul, Italianways.com + DVD by Christoph Schaub and Marcel Meili.

Map: Il Girasole Map

 

ABOUT STEPHENVARADY_ARCHITRAVELLER

 

ALSO HAVE A LOOK AT STEPHENVARADY_INTERIORTRAVELLER

 

ALSO HAVE A LOOK AT STEPHENVARADY_ARCHITECTURE

 

ALSO HAVE A LOOK AT STEPHENVARADY_CREATIVITYBLOG

4 thoughts on “Marcellise: Villa Il Girasole (Italy)

  1. I’ve never seen this before: fascinating.

    Regards,

    WILLIAM SMART SMART DESIGN STUDIO
    ARCHITECTURE FROM THE INSIDE OUT

    632 BOURKE STREET
    SURRY HILLS NSW 2010

    Like

    1. Thanks William,
      Yes, I know it has remained hidden.
      I’ve been wanting to show this for a while and finally prepared the images and information.
      It should be far more famous than it is!

      Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

w

Connecting to %s