Villa Girasole is an extraordinary work built during the golden ages of functionalist architecture. It lies at Marcellise, in the region of Verona, Italy, and was designed by the navy engineering Angelo Invernizzi -- who had the apparently senseless dream of being the owner of a house that could follow the sun movement. This kind of building wasn't easy to be constructed, as it evolved many complex and expensive techniques. It began in 1929 and was concluded in 1935 -- a long time for a house.
The building is composed by two parts: a 44 meters diameter circular basis and a rotational block with two pavements on the "L" shape at their superior part. Those two part are united in the centre by a pivoting element with a shape of a more than 40 meters high tower that looks like a lighthouse. The whole piece seems a watch, and the rotational part seems to be the watch hands.
To move this 5000 m3 and 1500 tons mass, Invernizzi conceived an artful system of 3 circular rails connected to the cover of the basis-building, where a bunch of 15 "roller skates" were sliding mutually with the superior building. The energy was provided by two diesel motors that afforded the displacement at a speed of 4mm per second, allowing a complete rotation in 9 hours and 20 minutes. It's more than the necessary time to follow the sun movement.
It's astonishing that this kind of building could be constructed. And it's even more astonishing that it's still working out. Presently, Villa Girasole is a property of Invernizzi Foundation and of Mendrisio Academy of Architecture, in Switzerland.
Villa Girasole showed by Google Earth
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