Skip to main content
Architecture & HeritageInternationalNewsExhibitions

The 3rd Festival des cabanes at Villa Médicis

By 7 June 2024No Comments

From 22th May to 29th September 2024, Villa Medici is hosting its third Festival des Cabanes. Architects, architecture students, collectives and companies have taken over the gardens of the Renaissance mansion and, through their original creations, are proposing new forms of sustainable housing.

Located on Mount Pincio in Rome, the Villa Medici is a 16th-century residence that has been home to the Académie de France in Rome since 1803. Originally a small building surrounded by a few ancient remains, it was acquired in 1576 by Cardinal Ferdinand de’ Medici, who transformed it into a sumptuous palace and decorated it with the finest pieces from his art collection. The gardens, which cover almost 8 hectares, have retained their original layout. Umbrella pines, lemon trees, bigaradiers and antique rose bushes punctuate the visitor’s stroll.

Attached to the Ministry of Culture, the villa serves as an artists’ residence, welcoming artists and art historians to develop their projects in a favourable environment.

Aerial view of the Villa Medici and its gardens © M3 Studio

Whether it’s a perched hut, a pavilion inspired by classical Roman architecture, or a temple made of pine and canvas, this year’s exhibition showcases a range of ephemeral architectures all offering sustainable, non-invasive living solutions. They weave a dialogue with the residence, its historic gardens and its history, inviting visitors to take a meditative pause in their midst. Playing on historical, mythological and cultural references, the architects rewrite them in a contemporary language, attentive to anthropological, political, social and ecological issues. The six huts on display in the gardens are characterised by their formal, visual and functional diversity. Some rise above hedges, others blend into the vegetation; the space is intimate, collegial, friendly or family-like.

“Forum des vestiges” seen from the sky, pratique architecture © M3 Studio

Designed by Manuel Bouzas, the “Cabane 7L” stands proudly alongside the garden’s umbrella pines. A monumental frame supports a floating staircase that takes visitors up to the canopies, from where they can enjoy a breathtaking view of Rome. The observatory mediates between the inner garden and the Roman skyline: the Villa Medici, designed to be seen and admired by the Romans, in turn looks out over the historic city, its palaces and its walkers.

“La Cabane 7L”, Manuel Bouzas © Daniele Molajoli

In another square of the gardens, “Il Tempietto”, designed by “ane Architecture”, is inspired by an emblematic piece of Renaissance architecture in Rome: Bramante’s temple in the convent of the church of San Pietro in Montorio. The structural elements of the temple (plinth, peristyle, heart, dome) are transposed into a contemporary vocabulary and associated with the imaginary of the hut (wood and woven canvas).

Il tempietto, ane architecture © Daniele Molajoli

Il tempietto, ane architecture © Daniele Molajoli

The “Forum des vestiges”, built by the Pratique architecture collective, draws on Roman political, religious and social heritage, with its maritime pine and textile building. It rewrites the forum as a place for trade, socialising and debate. Its open, collegiate and antiquarian architecture invites us to rethink political space.

“Forum des vestiges”, pratique architecture © Daniele Molajoli

Interior of the “Forum des Vestiges”, pratique architecture © Daniele Molajoli

Main facade of the “Forum des vestiges”, pratique architecture © Daniele Molajoli

Created by Huttopia, the “Cahutte” is a skilful blend of pine, larch and canvas, offering a pleasant perched stopover. Its structure on stilts and the mobility of its connections mean that it can be adapted to a variety of sites, without the need for earthworks. The traditional hut has been rethought as a sustainable, mobile and authentic habitat.

“La Cahutte”, Huttopia © Daniele Molajoli

“La Cahutte”, Huttopia © Daniele Molajoli