Paramount Alma Residence

Sesto, Italy, has long been famous for its majestic views and pristine landscape. In recent years, it’s become somewhat of a bastion for contemporary architecture.

Paramount Alma Residence

PLASMA Studio architects have built several structures in the area, a new angle on the charming wood chalets and barns. The Paramount Alma Residence is their latest.

Paramount Alma Residence

The project is an addition to a '60s guesthouse, mounted directly on top of the older structure.

Paramount Alma Residence

The addition contains additional living space, a private residence with bathroom, and a spectacular roof garden.

Paramount Alma Residence

Mountain sunlight and views spill in from a narrow, wedge-like skylight and bounce off the predominately white interiors.

Paramount Alma Residence

The architects say the structure forms a "connected spine" linking the lush hillside with the more rigid villa.

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Parametric Architecture Rattles The Italian Alps

With the Paramount Alma Residence, PLASMA Studio places a contemporary and well considered wake-up call in a sleepy town of quaint chalets.

Tucked away in the northernmost part of Italy’s South Tyrol province is the picturesque town of Sesto. The thousand-year-old hamlet sits at the base of the bluish-hued Dolomites and is noted for its evergreen pastures, sunburst skies, sleepy alpine charm, and…contemporary architecture?

Unlikely as the pairing of people and place may seem, for architects PLASMA Studio, their recent structures in Sesto effectively function as a microcosm of their work. In the last several years, in both striking contrast with and complement to the quiet mountain town, they have produced a pair of villas and a small hotel that mix contemporary form with traditional materials. Their Paramount Alma Residence is the latest of these, and it strikes a careful balance between experimentation and context to great effect.

The project is an addition to a '60s villa and guesthouse. "It was not a main issue to integrate the design in the existing structure," PLASMA Studio partner Ulla Hell tells Co.Design. "We rather meant to clearly distinguish old from new." The timber-lattice structure forms a small prism that contains a private residence with washroom and other living spaces, topped off by a large rooftop garden and terrace. Fractured views of the Italian Alps leak in through the thin bands of glass that punctuate the nearly all-white interiors.

Where the original building prizes platonic geometries, PLASMA Studio’s intervention makes use of angular planes which unfold in a snakelike manner. It’s perched at the bottom of a slope, stretching from the ground to the top of the villa in what the architects consider a "connecting spine" linking the guesthouse to the site’s topography.

The formal strategy is an extension of the Strata Hotel, one of the firm’s other projects in the region, just a stone’s throw from the Alma addition. There, the wooden-slat facade similarly extends from the landscape into a geometric translation of the surrounding hillside.

About PLASMA’s adept alpine integration of the traditional with the modern, architecture and landscape, Hell explains: "One could almost say that the new flirts with the old, touching it and then again peeling off it."

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  • Andrei Tache

    the title is a bit off, and i sort of care about it. it should be more rigurous than 'interesting' for the sake of language. this is not parametrically generated, they just used parametric design software to adjust the density of the shades but that's too little to call is parametric architecture. that should imply much more than some angular shape...
    but it's nice work i've said it in other occasions. there are a lot of good things about it