carlo ratti associati to renovate italian farmhouse around a 10-meter-high tree

carlo ratti associati to renovate italian farmhouse around a 10-meter-high tree

carlo ratti associati has unveiled the greenary, the concept for a renovated farmhouse designed around a 10-meter-high (32-feet-high) ficus tree. growing within the main living area, the tree’s trunk and leafy branches act as the centerpoint for the house and its living quarters. the greenary will be built in the countryside of parma, northern italy as a private residence.


the greenary is not a tree-house or a house on a tree, but a house designed around a tree. comprising a total internal space of 800 square meters, life unfolds in sync with the 50-year old ficus, a perennial tropical plant housed in the farmhouse’s south hall. around the tree, a sequence of interconnected rooms creates six domestic spaces – three above the entrance and three below it.

carlo ratti associati to renovate italian farmhouse around a 10-meter-high tree the greenary

images courtesy of carlo ratti associati


each space dedicated to a specific activity: practicing yoga, listening to music, reading, eating together, sharing a drink, and keeping a wine cellar and storing dry cured ham for ageing. located at a different level of the tree, a 3-dimensional sequence is created following adolf loos’ principle of raumplan, a planning method based on discreet rooms and a dynamic section.

carlo ratti associati to renovate italian farmhouse around a 10-meter-high tree the greenary



the project takes inspiration from the spiritual symbolism of the ficus tree, whose various species are revered in many parts of the world. the ficus religiosa or sacred fig is a species of fig is revered by buddhists as the bodhi tree, while the ficus microcarpa adorns the ancient parks of guangzhou in china. the plant is well-suited for indoor living conditions, as it enjoys stable temperatures all year long. CRA has redesigned the old farmhouse to maximize natural light through a 10-meter-high (33-feet-high) south-facing glass wall.



the greenary puts forward the idea of living inside-out – based on the principle of biophilia, an approach to architecture that seeks to connect building occupants more closely to nature. its dining room sits at the bottom of the glass wall, built slightly below ground level, so that the top of the table has the same level of the grass outside. diners can look out onto the vast orchard where donkeys and other animals stroll.

carlo ratti associati to renovate italian farmhouse around a 10-meter-high tree the greenary



inhabiting each of the rooms will be a bit like inhabiting a tree,’ says andrea cassi, project manager at CRA, talking about the south the project breaks down traditional separations between rooms and floors, the ficus becomes the organizing principle of a contemporary interpretation of the raumplan for the age of BIM. every level provides a different perspective on nature.’

carlo ratti associati to renovate italian farmhouse around a 10-meter-high tree the greenary



the greenary is the first step of the master plan for mutti, the country’s leading tomato company, which CRA won in 2017 after an international competition. the house and the factory are being developed in close continuity due to their physical proximity and their joint call for a closer integration between nature and the built environment. the renovation of the greenary will start in fall 2018 and be completed in late 2019.

  • That’s more like it! (re comment on fake grass/dead trees in children’s nursery recent post)

    Sam says:

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