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In ‘The Houses of Cards,’ Two Adjacent Homes Showcase Interlocking Granite And Concrete Slabs That Create Rhythmic Configurations

Stefano Pujatti of Elastico Farm uses traditional materials in unforeseen ways for this pair of dissonant private residences that were recently nominated for the 2022 Mies Award


 A couple of dissonant private residences, one adjacent to the other, rise two floors above ground in a residential context, composed of anonymous single-family houses, all respectfully aligned. We are in Torrazza Piemonte, in the province of Turin, in the north-western part of Italy. Here the new double- piece by Stefano Pujatti (Elastico Farm) has just taken shape. It is the outcome of the architect’s exploration of the expressive possibilities of a traditional material, used in an unforeseen way.


The Houses of Cards are two autonomous entities occupied by two families who have adapted them to their modus vivendi. They reflect the expectations of the client who interpreted them and manages them freely without feeling influenced by issues related to the architect’s aesthetic choices. They are two small buildings produced by an almost primitive reasoning that, thanks to technology and new construction techniques, are able to provide spaces for today’s life.

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The Cat House in Houses of Cards by Elastico Farm | Atelier XYZ
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The Dog House in Houses of Cards by Elastico Farms | Atelier XYZ
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The two residences both share the same structural solution, developed around an overlapping arrangement of twenty large granite slabs, connected by interlocking cuts and metal elements and composed together with similar slabs, made of colored concrete. Additional partitions, in contrast to the hard structure, are made of wood.   The spatial solution, to which the alternating colors contribute, produces a series of consequences that reverberate from the interiors to the definition of the external forms.


For years Stefano Pujatti’s work seems to have had to suffer the reputation of an uncontrollable, profane and desecrating, anti- academic, unregulated designer. The Houses of Cards project, although formally very different from the previous works carried out by Stefano Pujatti, exemplifies his line of experimentation and today brings out with extreme clarity some of the themes that define it. The search for alternative construction possibilities with traditional materials, as is the case with Sardinian granite, or their unexpected combination. Confidence with an idea of architecture that is constantly at work between the physical reality of the material and an uncompromising creative attitude. The Houses of Cards project reinterprets the performance standards of materials to produce a new and highly expressive constructive solution.  Within the game of superimpositions made from large granite slabs, the houses, jokingly called Cat House and Dog House by the designer, give rise to profoundly different spatial configurations.


All the structural investigations and the subsequent formal choices had to deal with the program and the specific requirements of the single-family house typology, as well as with the needs of those who now live there. The houses, belonging to two sisters, have similar dimensions, but are very different in their distribution and inner spacial relationships.


About The Architects:

Elastico Farm is an architecture and product design studio founded by Stefano Pujatti, Alberto Del Maschio and Sara dal Gallo in 2005, based in Chieri (TO), Pordenone and Toronto (Canada).


Stefano Pujatti was visiting professor at the University of Toronto from 2014 to 2016, at the Faculty of Architecture of the Politecnico di Torino from 2005 to 2014 and has been invited as a speaker at numerous university institutions including RMIT in Melbourne, Hoesi University in Tokyo, Accademia di Architettura Mendrisio, IUAV Venice.


In architecture, Elastico Farm’s research focuses on the relationship between the forces and elements of nature, their impact on man and the built environment.Every new project is an opportunity to study and experiment with materials, technology and geometry. Their buildings and products have won important acknowledgements at national and international exhibitions, awards and publications. These include the Venice Architecture Biennale (2006, 2010, 2014), the monographic exhibition “Form Matters” at the Italian Cultural Institute in Toronto (2015), the in/arch-ANCE award (2006). Elastico Farm was a finalist of the Mies van der Rohe Award n 2013 and nominated in 2019, winner of The Plan Award (2015) and Archmarathon (2017). In the field of product design in 2019 Elastico Farm won first prize at the RED DOT Award, the LF design Award and the Green Design Award.


The monograph Architettura al sangue was published in 2008. In 2019 Elastico Farm was guest-editor of an issue of the IQD magazine titled “I don’t know”.