Keywords Change this

Villa, Dynamic Architecture, Forgotten Masterpieces

Project timeline

1929 – 1935



Location Change this

37036 San Martino Buon Albergo

Current state


Also known as Change this

Villa Sunflower,

Architect Change this

Villa Girasole Change this

San Martino Buon Albergo, Italy
by Angelo Invernizzi, Ettore Fagiuoli Change this
1 of 21

Description Change this

Villa Girasole (in italian sunflower) is a rotational house which progressively rotates following the sun's movement during the day.

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 a navy engineer, Angelo Invernizzi, who had apparently dreamed of being the owner of a house that could follow the movement of the sun. This kind of building wasn't easy to construct, as it involved 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 meter diameter circular base 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 more than 40 meters high, the tower that looks like a lighthouse. The whole piece appears to look like a watch and the rotational piece appears as the watch hands.

To move this 5000m3 and 1500 tons mass, Invernizzi conceived an artful system of 3 circular rails connected to the cover the base of the building where a bunch of 15 "roller skates" slide mutually with the upper 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.


The interiors, designed by the architect's friend and colleague Ettore Fagioli, combines modernism with that of rationalism. The furnishings are from curved metal tubing and the rigorous compositional grammar of the facades combine with the monumental entrance, the pillars covered with gold mosaic, the floors also in ceramic mosaic tile or wood with a geometrical design, the multicolored mosaics of the bathrooms, and the ochre yellow wallpaper, to bring out the value of both movements, reflecting a fundamental chapter of Italian creativity. Reference to the dynamic, sculptural forms of Futurism can be seen in the triangular swimming pool with beveled corners, from which a slide emerges in reinforced concrete, designed by the engineer Fogliani of Milan, in one corner of the vast garden.

Presently, Villa Girasole is the property of Invernizzi Foundation and of Mendrisio Academy of Architecture, in Switzerland.


Posted by archibald | Tuesday, January 10th, 2012 | 17:39pm
Check the very nice video in the source above with observations of the engineer's/owner's daughter
Posted by archibald | Sunday, January 1st, 2012 | 21:20pm
What a crazy idea!

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