casa cascina yesterday today the rural landscape and its
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CASA CASCINA yesterdaytoday The rural landscape and its buildings before renovation The suggestiveness of this zone is defined by a large flat plateau of open space, in which the "closed fields" fenced off by dry stone walls,


  1. CASA CASCINA yesterday…today… The rural landscape and its buildings before renovation The suggestiveness of this zone is defined by a large flat plateau of open space, in which the "closed fields" fenced off by dry stone walls, creating neat and organized perimeters of different areas and heights, of a dark black sandy soil, in which features "Casa Cascina". This rural architecture, built with traditional local techniques and materials are described typologically as Iblea farm houses in the region. Specifically, " Casa Cascina " can be better identified as the type of farm house of the Ragusano, more collected and contained than the Syracusano farm house, unpretentious aesthetics, but with beautiful stone walls and door and window jambs, lintols and thresholds of large solid blocks of hard limestone. Another important element of these farm houses are the dry-stone walls, small masterpieces which differ with specific local names depending on their specific use : muragghiuni -small shelters along the wall, also in stone cone-shaped or round for the shelter the pastor or tools; paralupi -small buttresses that make it more solid and wider than the wall thickness, to prevent animals to jump over it, varchi o vari several openings that let the curious observer through and offer rare emotions. mannaruni -the wall. Agricultural landscape The territory in which “Casa Cascina” is located is characterized by the presence of different tress namely olive and carob trees, and some almonds, fig and walnut trees . This traditional landscape, still almost intact and free from any attempts to exploit the territory, presents characteristics of homogeneity and integrity and could be ideally described as by the aforementioned Decree, "Landscape of the carob" Or "Landscape of the olive". The shapes of these impressive century-old trees stand out as focal elements, giving unparalleled beauty, strength, and a colourful contrast to the monotonous rural landscape.

  2. Information about the site and elements of landscape value Bordered by a compact wall in the shape of a horseshoe, “Casa Cascina” is characterized as a homogeneous structure with double inner courtyard, where the individual buildings are almost of a unique elevation above ground, except one which has a first floor for residential use with access from an external staircase.

  3. The historical use of this structure was definitely of a rural nature, as the morphology of all the rooms comprising it denotes this function, in particular breeding of Arab horses. These buildings are accessed from outside via three entrances, two of which enter on patios and another leads to the internal area of the structure. The construction system of the property is characterized by a load-bearing stone walls with woven horizontal stone blocks and corner stones of irregular square blocks, the openings are defined by lintels and door/window jambs in regular blocks and paving made of limestone. Roofs consist of main wooden beams and wooden planks, which are then covered with coppe Siciliane . Through a careful survey of the elements of decay and degradation of the buildings, consisting of the analysis and morphological recovery of the matrices and the types of materials used, special attention was taken in preserving the existing structure through

  4. restorative procedures with the aim of preserving of this architectural heritage. It was noted that the property has a precarious state of conservation, especially in vertical structures. In many of the buildings there were obvious signs degradation such as efflorescence, presence of vegetation, fallen plaster and points of instability, such as bulging walls, fractures and mal aligned blocks. The integrity of nearly all the roofs was compromised and these lacked the necessary waterproofing. The area is characterized by rolling flat plains with the Monte Iblei in the back drop, with typical Mediterranean vegetation such as olive, carob and almond trees, as isolated species and particularly aimed at furnishing the open spaces of “Casa Cascina” or to meet family needs of the inhabitants of the house. • Landscape impacts of the changes made and elements of mitigation and compensation needed In the light of the analysis of the current state of the structure and from indications from local authorities , the aim of the project was to re-qualify the structure without undertaking any radical measures with detrimental effects on the architectonic value and surrounding landscape. The conservative restoration of this architectural heritage consisted in the restoration of the stone walls, emphasizing the defining elements of openings and corners through the works of careful consolidation and meticulous cleaning with aesthetics always in the foreground. Obviously, during the restructuring phase of the project, the adequate comfort and design of the internal spaces created were taken into account and were tailor made for its destined use.

  5. Even the native tree species present, such as olive, almond, carob, nuts, berries, prunes, fig, etc.., will be preserved and integrated with related species or specialized biocompatible species according to instructions. A circuit, properly designed, lined with shrubs, low vegetation, flowering shrubs will delimit the areas adjacent to buildings, particularly in the area of extension on the north- east of the property In this area a platform will be built with restaurant and pool and an extensive pool/restaurant deck and adjacent olive groove which will cater also for receptive and similar functions. It will include three new buildings: • restaurant to be built (pre fabricated structures on site) • beneath restaurant serving as wine cellar, storage room/services for kitchen, built • beneath pool deck: pump room, storage for pool and apartments and toilets, built Restaurant Building The restaurant building, considerably larger than initially anticipated in the Old Structure, consists of three rooms: kitchen, dining room and toilet. It occupies a rectangular area of 21.00 m x 8.00 m

  6. with a height of 3.20 m (see attachment. N. 4)...The dining area will enlarge by another 5.20 m x 8.00 m once the canopy is built. Il piccolo vano per servizi previsto nel progetto originario, (vedi all. n. 3) non sarà realizzato. Restaurant-1 lvl, serving as wine cellar, storage room/services for kitchen . This space is located below the kitchen and is almost completely under ground. It houses a wine cellar with separate entrance, a storage room and a toilet, with a dressing room, accessible from the kitchen floor through a separate staircase. Beneath pool deck: pump room, storage for pool and apartments and toilets, This space is located adjacent to the pool and is also almost completely underground. It has ample storage accessible through different entries. At the opposite end is a a space intended for toilets, accessible from pool deck down a stair case. This will cater for pool users and eventual guests once the pool/restaurant deck is utilized for receptions. Also close to this area is a ‘bocci’ court and a tennis court. The finished level of this platform will be elevated above the level of surrounding areas in accordance with the applicable sanitary rules. There will be no major earth movements as the excavated material was used to fill in and get the correct heights. As a result this operation had no significant environmental impact. As for the external aspects materials will be used which are in compliance with the natural ambiance of the place, such as limestone slabs , wooden or white/gray gravel for walkways, and to contour trees areas. Walled gardens in front of the buildings, cobbled limestone in the internal

  7. courtyards Given the final use of this structure, it is believed that restorative work of extreme respect and mitigation towards the place has been effected without sacrificing too much functionality and comfort of the indoors. The end result of this intervention will be exclusively one of integration and camouflage with the existing landscape, without discordant morphological, architectural and botanical effects,. WORKS CARRIED OUT The project involved the renovation of existing buildings and their adaptation to 4 * (boutique) rural tourism accommodation. The buildings are individual mini apartments and self-sufficient, except one that will be used as an reception, office and control room. Each unit is made up of a living-dining-kitchen area, bathroom and bedroom, and in some of them, the master bedroom is located on a mezzanine accessed via a staircase. Some apartments enjoy a private terrace and/ or garden. The interiors are very modern and with the concept of minimal

  8. design, as a sharp contrast to the rustic exterior ambient. In all there are 17 individual apartments. The total capacity reached is of 44 beds (if double sofa beds are utilised instead total capacity is 61) In one of the buildings an intermediate ceiling was built. In this way two apartments where created, one at ground floor and one on the first floor. The apartment on the first floor is accessed via an external staircase. The renovation also included the central courtyard and other two courtyards as well as surrounding land in the immediate vicinity of the buildings and has been transformed in private gardens serving these apartments.

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