Italian sculptor Arnaldo Pomodoro, who created the famous "Sphere Within Sphere" located at the Vatican, has constructed his first-ever architectural sculpture. Titled “The Carapace,” the structure reflects its name by taking on the shape of a tortoise shell. The building, which will be inaugurated this June, is located on the Castelbuono Estate in Umbria, Italy. It marks the first time that the Italian master has created a work on such a grand scale.
The dome-like building is actually a giant copper sculpture, furrowed with "organic" shaped cracks that filter through natural daylight and ventilation. The large open interior is designed as a social space for visitors to walk through and taste the local wines, while enjoying 360 degree views of the surrounding 30 hectares (74 acres) of vines. The external facade of the dome has been designed to resemble the earth’s surface and has been decorated with copper plates, placed above several layers of roof ventilation.
The oval shape of the dome measures 35 x 28 meters (115 x 92 feet) and features 12 arch supports that rise up from the ground. To ensure that the building is flexible enough to meet seismic standards, the architects used a structural system of wooden arches that enables the structure to withstand the differential expansions related to the size of such a work.
The building also features a wine cellar that reaches 10 meters (33 feet) underground. The cellar is accessible by a dramatic central stairwell that is made from reinforced concrete, and resembles a giant cork screw.
Pomodoro’s overall intention for the landmark was to create a structure that sat in harmony with its surrounding landscape and symbolized a union between the earth and sky. Hence the idea of a turtle – a symbol of stability and the slow pace of country life.