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On turning a former Alpine garage into an elegant modern cabin

When architects Gianmatteo Romegialli and Erika Gaggia saw their friend Carlo “Dino” Marchetti’s garage with the gorgeous views of the Italian Alps, “almost as a joke”, they suggested converting it into something “fun”. Given Dino’s passion for gardening, they decided to let nature in on the renovation.

By creating just a steel frame around the building, they enabled local plants and vines to wrap the home in a second skin of vegetation.

Inside they left most of the cement masonry and added raw, industrial materials like galvanized steel to create a kitchen and window frames. Adding just a hole in one wall- between the old garage and former storage room- they expanded the space into a second room for relaxing, entertaining and planning and potting the garden.

Perched high above the province of Sondrio in the Raethian Alps, “Green Box” is shaped like a conventional home, but it’s the plants that give it the gable-roofed shape. The architects (of Act_Romegialli) used simple glazed panels and simple joinery to create a structure with the feel of a lived-in greenhouse. Like any living structure, the home changes with the seasons to match the nature that surrounds it.