At the edge of town, high on sloping terrain, Villa Varenna gazes out towards scenic views over St Paul`s Bay, the sea and Gozo in the distance. Spread over two levels, the family home presents a dual personality in its organisation and architecture. The site was reimagined as lush gardens which surrounds and punctuate through a more rational configuration of a lightweight pavilion.
With its citrus and Mediterranean trees and bay tree borders, the upper-level hosts areas for entertainment, a swimming pool, an external living area and two internal volumes containing the family-kitchen space and a more formal living-dining room. The glazed walls provide continuity between the interior and exterior, were all the spaces communicate with the garden from any point within the house. The overhanging roof blends into the tree cover, while visually the internal space extends outwards towards the distant views.
In contrast, the lower level provides for a more private program with the bedrooms and personalised living spaces that open onto three landscaped courtyards. These courtyards provide for filtered light and adequate ventilation to create intimate internal and external spaces.
The new structure uses a limited palette of materials to focus attention on the surrounding landscape. To reflect its duality, off-shutter concrete walls embrace the lower level, their solidity providing privacy and environmental control, in contrast to the lightness of the open spaces above. Only the upper level is visible from the street, a discreet pavilion with its large areas of glazing, the overhanging roof supported on slender steel columns.
A large courtyard lies at the heart of the property. It reaches out towards the street through a partly covered porch, which doubles up as a lower entrance and as a sheltered car port. From front to back, and also vertically between floors, the exterior spaces are visually connected.
St Paul`s Bay, Malta