In the idyllic town of San Miniato in the region of Tuscany, Italy, local architecture firm LDA.iMdA architetti associati has completed a multifunctional home that takes inspiration from the structural technology in greenhouses. The client’s dream of growing a vegetable garden served as a major design influence for the contemporary dwelling, which features a gabled shape optimized for harvesting rainwater that can be reused for irrigating the expansive rear garden. The project, dubbed La casa nell’orto (or House in the Orchard), also incorporates eco-friendly materials such as prefabricated wood self-supporting panels and is elevated off the ground to reduce the impact on the landscape

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a pentagon-shaped house with white frames and a glass facade. three people in all black with black rabbit heads on stand on the stands.

Set on a long and skinny east-west plot, the House in the Orchard follows the shape of the site with its rectilinear volume that spans an area of 84 square meters. The main entrance, located on the west side of the plot, includes a short flight of steps leading up to the front door. The minimalist gabled shape, based on a child’s basic drawing of a house, was created with a lightweight frame — inspired by technology typically used for greenhouses — overlaid with an ecological polyolefin sheet selected for high solar reflectance.

two people in all black with black rabbit heads sit in a living room with white armchairs and a dark accent wall.

Like a greenhouse, the gabled volume emphasizes an indoor/outdoor connection and was constructed with large expanses of glazing. The operable glazing also promotes natural ventilation. The architects took a house-within-a-house design approach to the interior layout by inserting a smaller gabled structure that comprises the main living functions, including an open-plan living area, dining area and kitchen, as well as a bedroom, bathroom and storage space. An even smaller gabled volume set behind the main living structure serves as an indoor greenhouse. 

Related: Kuehn Malvezzi tops a brick office building in Germany with an energy-efficient greenhouse

a person in all black with a black rabbit head sits in a living room with a white armchair. a wreath hangs on the wall, with a human face in the middle.

“This project is part of the research we are investigating for: how the figurative synthesis of an architecture is often recurrent in the architect’s work, and how it can be an important element of investigation in finding answers or models for a contemporary fluid and dynamic society,” the architects explained in a press statement. The House in the Orchard was also designed with the intent of hosting events such as the StudiAperti 2019.

a person in all black with a black rabbit head stands behind a black table, pointing to another person in all black holding a broom next to a set of black cabinets. in the background, another person in all black sweeps the hallway.

+ LDA.iMdA architetti associati

Photography by MEDULLA studio