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vocabulary & grammar

Summer is a great time to learn Italian in a Tuscan city. With theory in the morning and one-to-one conversation in the afternoon, I'm getting 'head first' into it. Having a conversation without any significant vocabulary or grammar is not easy, but through trial and error I still become familiar with local political facts and I receive tips for the best restaurants.

There is a reason for the language lesson, as I have bought a former goldsmith's workshop in this town, with a beautiful concrete roof, on an elongated plot on a canal. In my initial design sketches, I transformed this workshop into a loft-like holiday home, until it turned out that it was built very inexpertly. Consultation with a local architect reveals that the same volume may be returned in a different proportion, although it is unclear what the references are. Is that the volume, net or gross area of the footprint, or rather the total floor area of ground floor plus inset floor?

Consultations with the civil servant Capo di tutti Capi - bald head, matching bull's neck and gold spectacle frame - are conclusive, but along the way other illogical provisions pop up. The current building stands some 2.5 metres from the canal; in new construction, it should be five, or four, within the existing footprint. Obviously, a patio should always count six metres between the two facades and a loggia is never more than one and a half metres deep. Five metres should be kept away from the adjacent buildings, unless you extend the existing facade line.

With some design gymnastics, I figure out the written and, above all, unwritten rules. There is now a compact design with the best ingredients from the preliminary process. This makes the design process similar to my struggles with vocabulary and grammar: with the right partners, some persistence and a good dose of optimism and creativity, you can get a long way. Although the construction has yet to begin...

Ronald Schleurholts

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→ Mail or call our business development team on +31 (0)15 2150000