Like a phoenix rising from the ashes of Mount Etna, the new L House by London practice Transit Studio is set within an overgrown rural estate between Catania and Taormina in Sicily, abandoned for over 40 years.
To design the house – which takes the place of a dilapidated olive-pressing barn on the site – Transit was chosen for its outsider status, to look at the site’s potential with a ‘fresh pair of eyes’.
In homage to the volcanic landscape and vernacular colourful render, founder Ben Masterton-Smith sought out a rare soft-pink render made from ‘sabia volcanica’ to mimic the original volume, affixed with a terracotta roof. For the new-look extension, he and his colleagues designed a simple geometry with a folded roof of lava stone – ‘as if erupting up through the ground’. The angled silhouette mirrors the rural architecture in a clean, more contemporary way.
The studio used twice-baked lava stone for cladding, to surface the terrace and to edge the pool. Internally, lava stone with various custom glazes is used for floors and in the bathrooms.
A new infinity pool and terrace enjoy views to Mount Etna, along with an outdoor kitchen that flows from the bespoke kitchen inside. Blackened-timber doors across the back of the house serve as the ‘front’ entrance and, when opened, reveal a view to the sea through the house.
‘The project epitomises the interests and passions of the studio, exploring and taking inspiration from our travels and bringing these ideas very much into the character of our work,’ says Masterton-Smith.
L House is available to rent via its private owner.