Casa Santa Teresa by Amelia Tavella Architectes is reminiscent of the quintessential ‘house by the sea,’ built on her native island, on the Route des Sanguinaires in Ajaccio, France. A true celebration of the elements, the interior and exterior spaces are balanced by the strength or softness of the light passing through the sieve of the striped shutters. Pivoting doors in the vast living room invite you in and keep you cosy and protected when the light fades, secret alcoves lead to the upper rooms, and the plants and flowers escort you for a swim as you gaze into the beauty of the Mediterranean Sea.
The nostalgia associated with a house by the sea—memories of days blushed by the sun, slow dancing in the evenings, a clear and invigorating dawn—is the beauty celebrated in this project. The white building is surrounded by sky is built overhanging the Mediterranean, which unfolds a few meters away and can be reached barefoot.
“It is a house from the 1950’s that had to be rebuilt without erasing vestiges of the past: its soul and spirit,” said Tavella. “I believe in the memory of walls, in the way it leaves its mark on a space. This project tells the story of the fun that was had here. The pleasure of baths, invasive nature, close proximity to the beach, rocks, and the Mediterranean Sea,” she adds.
The house seems extracted from the city, which is fading in beauty and silence. The pivoting doors, alcoves, and no partition ensures unobscured views. The railings are made of rope, the striped shutters inspired and frame doors let light circulate, while still filtering it when it is too intense. The different levels inside the large living room, a fireplace and the upper rooms are connected by a wooden staircase. Outside, the slab path descends to access the beach. It is the ideal vacation home—one inspired by the childhood memory of happy evenings.
Further commenting on the project, the architect says “When I build, I don’t defeat. There is no betrayal. I proceed by inclusion. Nature invades my projects. She is neither an obstacle nor a hindrance, she is the host whom I celebrate. I adapt to the trees, to the light, to the relief. It’s my way of balancing a modern gesture, architecture, with the tradition of a cliff, a ravine. There is something ancestral about nature. I am often moved by it. I have so much passion for creating, inventing from an already written history. Each time, it’s a gamble : inscribe the building in the original space without shocking anything, moving or mistreating it. It’s an extension, not an amputation. ”