Costa Paradiso, located in northern Sardinia, is the starting point to understand Alberto Ponis’ architecture. It’s the ‘60s when the young architect decided to get involved in designing a villa in Palau, after significant liaisons within the London Modernism. It’s from this turning point that sparked his idea of launching the studio in Sardinia and devoting himself entirely to the holiday villas field.
We are referring to almost two-hundred houses arranged in complete harmony with the surrounding area, distinguished
by millennial rocks and granite cliffs. Precisely these latter ones, inexhaustible sources of inspiration, are consistent in
Ponis’ work. "When the terrain is crossed by 50% of various rocks and on the other half is clean, plainly most of my colleagues
would put the house in the clean part, to get rid of troubles[...].
“I usually decide to partially construct on the hard part, without touching the rocks and just putting the building on them, without destroying them, incorporating them in the walls instead, as if I was looking for a kind of kinship, an ancient belonging to the place [...]. Houses cling to the rocks; they become a support element and part of it [...] "They are like the wrinkled skin of a prehistoric animal, and this can be felt".
This is the wording of Ponis in the video interview by Corrado Cattinari, The Right Rock, where he tells of his modern point of view and relationship to the landscape in front of a plastic model of his houses. His architectural approach, respectful of the place’s spirit and culture, surely stems from a deep knowledge of the topography and morphology of the land. Ponis shares how his research is undertaken by exploring the island as if it was a newfound and undiscovered continent, taking photos of fields, houses and quaint towns. His main focus is on the distinctive breeding facilities, known as “Stazzo”, where northern Sardinians have led their rural life for centuries.
Such process is superbly laid out inThe Inhabited Pathway, The Built Work of Alberto Ponis in Sardinia, edited by Sebastiano Brandolini and published by Park Books, a mongraph that engages the reader with an enthralling journey through his life, education and philosophy. Through a perfect synthesis, the volume documents the best works constructed on the island from 1965 to 1998: eight mansions skillfully described through historical photos and authentic planimetries.