Monday, August 11, 2008

1935: Villa Girasole: rotating house follows the sun


villa girasole exterior photo

We have shown rotating houses before, but this one predates them by decades- Angelo Invernizzi's house has an upper section that rests on a circular track and follows the sun, 1,500 tons powered by two motors with a total of three horsepower.

villa girasole old photo
Villa Girasole (Villa Sunflower) is near Verona, Italy.

"The two storied and L shaped house rests on a circular base, which is over 44 meters in diameter. In the middle there is a 42 meters tall turret, a sort of conning tower or lighthouse, which the rotating movement hinges on. A diesel engine pushes the house over three circular tracks where 15 trolleys can slide the 5,000 cubic meters building at a speed of 4 millimeters per second (it takes 9 hours and 20 minutes to rotate fully). "

villa girasole under construction photo

“Engineer was thinking of the sun’s path, of a relation with landscape and the space of human’s life. He ventured to hope that the new construction breakthroughs would free mankind from the heaviness of traditional techniques and from the burden of history."

villa girasole details photo

“A revolving house is challenge to gravity, weitght and statics and to the very idea of rootedness."

villa girasole section photo

“Without risk there can be no possibility of success”

villa girasole plan photo

From "Surrealism and Architecture:

Even at a weight of 1500 tons, the mechanis of il Girasole is ingeniously designed so that only two motors, totalling three horsepower, are needed to move the crown at 4 millimeters per second. A full rotation is thus possible in nine hours and twenty minutes with the push of a single button. Designed to facilitate necessary repairs, the wheels are clearly visible in the space between the garden roof and the concrete underside of the rotating villa.

villa girasole exterior photo

"Like the wheels of Duchamp's "the Chocolate Grinder" which activates the "large glass" the movement of the house enacts an autoerotic repetition of the machine on the perpetually endless route. Over time, the grinding movement of the vertical shaft, penetrating into the earthbound architecture, has begun to wear away the building. Each turn of Il Girasole brings the machine to lfe, and at the same time, closer to its demise. When activated, the movement of shadows across an interior room or courtyard is eliminated. By constructing a "machine for living" that arrests the temporal cycle of the day, Invernizzi's villa is, in effect, a time machine in the process of destroying itself."

via ::Deputy Dog

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