Enzo Eusebi builds sunken prosciutto factory in the Italian countryside

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Haunches of ham are displayed in rows behind the glazed facade of this semi-underground prosciutto factory, which sits beneath a grassy roof in Italy's hilly Umbrian countryside (+ slideshow).

Prosciutto factory by Enzo Eusebi + Partners

Italian architect Enzo Eusebi wanted the Opificio Salpi prosciutto production facility to fit "intelligently in the panorama" so he partially submerged the bulk of the 7,000-square-metre building in the terrain.

Prosciutto factory by Enzo Eusebi + Partners

The green roof is intended to help disguise the bulk of the structure, as well as enhancing insulation, reducing rainwater run-off and mitigating noise pollution.

Prosciutto factory by Enzo Eusebi + Partners

With a C-shaped plan, the block wraps around a courtyard. This space hosts a collection of mirrored and timber-clad blocks, each with rounded corners, and offers views out over a valley.

Prosciutto factory by Enzo Eusebi + Partners

"The concept reinterprets in a contemporary way the block-type layout, where the ground floor dedicated to the production harmoniously blends into the smaller area of the directional building through the intelligent use of materials," said the Enzo Eusebi + Partners founder, who also runs an office in Beijing.

Prosciutto factory by Enzo Eusebi + Partners

"In the case of the production building, the above ground parts 'multiply' the space surrounding the factory through the use of mirror finishes," he added.



Inside, whole cured legs of pork are strung from metal racks in rooms with vibrant red and green flooring.

Other areas have wooden surfaces to match the building's external cladding and large windows that offer scenic views for employees.

Prosciutto factory by Enzo Eusebi + Partners

Citrus trees are due be planted around the building, where they will benefit from the residual heat from the production areas.

Prosciutto factory by Enzo Eusebi + Partners

"The thread that underlies the whole project is the desire to design a building that uses construction techniques associated with the energy savings and sustainable architecture from which the formal choices are made," said the architect.

Prosciutto factory by Enzo Eusebi + Partners

Solar panels help with the production of renewable energy, which is intended to reduce the building's environmental impact, as well as the cost associated with the use of fossil fuels.

"The combination of design choices and architectural standards, blend modern with traditional," added Eusebi.

Photography is by Pietro Savorelli.

Prosciutto factory by Enzo Eusebi + Partners
Site plan – click for larger image
Prosciutto factory by Enzo Eusebi + Partners
Floor plan – click for larger image
Prosciutto factory by Enzo Eusebi + Partners
Sections – click for larger image
  • Concerned Citizen

    “The green roof is intended to help disguise the bulk of the structure, as well as enhancing insulation, reducing rainwater run-off and mitigating noise pollution.”

    Really? There is no view that illustrates the roof disguising the bulk. And where the roof is exposed only to the sky, noise pollution from that part of the building is nil.