Projects IX, X, XI, XII, XIII, XIV (fols. 46v-51r)

These projects correspond to the countryside Projects VIII to XI, and like them they merely monotonously vary and multiply (both in form and distribution) the preceding projects. The gradual abandoning of the single house for two or four families, as the merchant becomes richer, naturally has a symmetrically unifying effect on the plan and elevation and generates larger (but fewer) rooms. Nevertheless, the basic schemes remain unchanged. There does however appear in the French projects a reference to a specific model: concerning the elevations, their pyramidal façades (with an enormous roof covering and a superimposed series of gallattà (attics)) are identified by Du Colombier and D’Espezel with the French merchant housing of the 15th and 16th centuries; as for the plan, there is a close correspondence with De l’Orme’s own house in Paris, illustrated in the Architecture. Serlio himself defines Project X as ‘Parisian’ (cf. Huber, M.R., op. cit.).

Already in Project X, the ‘apartment’ for private life is set in the second body of the building, hence beyond the courtyard, down the centre of which runs the covered passageway with its terrace or gallery/loggia above. And although in this project the front body on the plan still has two series of rooms either side of the atrium/entrance corridor, nevertheless in the front series the two rooms are classed as botteghe. In the following French project, number XII, there is only one row of rooms [There are in fact two (eds.)]. Thus the greater importance of the rear body is established. This is also demonstrated by the care taken over the distribution of the ‘private’ rooms in the rear body, e.g., E and G which, as a result of the mezzanine in F, both have a retrocamera. The correspondence of the plan here with that for De l’Orme’s house is even closer with the addition of the windowed galleries on the side porticoes of the internal courtyard.

In the Italian projects, interest consistently continues to focus on the front body (except in the richest and most elaborate project, XIII). Of note in XIII is the very complex solution of the courtyard. Here one of the long sides is taken up by the body for the service buildings (as such completely autonomous of the two principal buildings) and the other side has painted on the perimeter wall a representation of three storeys of niches and blind windows with no depth. This is almost a nostalgic reminiscence of the entirely painted scenographic courtyards of central Italy, but it is set in a completely northern European structure.



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