After my recent famous building post investigating Palladio’s La Rotunda villa, I felt compelled to try and improve and modernize on a classic building for the twentieth-first century. Palladio’s villa was built in the 1560s and served more than anything as a symbol of the wealth and power of its owners. The design for the villa was more an exercise in pure ascetics then functionality. The highly symmetrical plan generated a total of 9 usable rooms (8 rectangles and one circle) with each room having at least 2 entrances. The rooms were arranged en allié (with one room adjoining the next) which was a popular layout of spaces in the Renaissance. Fast forward to today where open plan living is the ideal combined with the need for multiple spaces to house all of the machines of modern life. Palladio’s villa was built prior to the creation of indoor plumbing, so there were no bathrooms in the villa nor was there any artificial lighting for illuminating the rooms at night other than the limited power of a candle. To summarize lots needed to be changed to make this gem a usable home for today.
I chose to keep the outside walls of the villa intact as well as the central rotunda leaving its location and proportions unchanged. The location of the windows and doors also remained fixed. The end result of my labors was a villa with 5 bedrooms and 5.5 bathrooms. The ground floor contains the following rooms: a living room, a library/study, a foyer, a master bedroom and bath, laundry space for the master suite, a lav, a billiards room with wet bar, a formal dining room, a kitchen with butler’s pantry, and the aforementioned rotunda at the building’s center. The attic floor contains 4 large bedrooms each with its own bath and walk in closet as well as an additional laundry room to serve the second floor. I altered the number of chimney eliminating two, while the number of fireplaces remains the same at 5.
I also created a separate modern garage that is adjacent to the villa to house autos as well as designing a gatehouse for the complex. Plans and renderings of the redone spaces are shown below.