Escape to a modular timber retreat in Italy by Teke Architects

Teke Architects creates modular, off-grid countryside retreat, MU50, made of prefabricated wooden elements in Italy's Mediterranean Coast

A relatively small and modest structure has appeared among the pine forest on a secluded spot of the Mediterranean Coast of Italy. It is Genoa-based architect Onur Teke's latest offering, a simple but striking retreat for a private client. 

The project is titled MU50 – standing for Modular Unit 50 and hinting at the way this design works. The structure may be used in this case as a holiday home, but its small-scale, modular, off-grid nature means it can be adaptable to a wide variety of sites – and even, potentially, uses. What's more, it is also recyclable. 

‘A simple act of repeating and combining a small number of relatively simple building elements can produce a wide variety of spaces fit for different uses – from a small meditation room to a dwelling,' says Teke. 

MU50 by Onur Teke overview

(Image credit: Alt Kalt)

‘Through its simplicity, flexibility and choice of materials, this structure is intended to bring beauty to the users’ daily lives; to allow them to incorporate it in their quotidian landscape and to connect with the surrounding nature reducing at most its carbon footprint,' explains Teke. 

The house consists of two untreated Larch structural timber frames. Glass wraps around the structure to open up the interior to views and nature, but manually operated timber shades protect privacy and the interiors from harsh sunlight when needed. The spaces inside are clean and minimalist. 

The project's environmental impact is reduced by maximum use of natural lighting and ventilation, photovoltaic panels on the roof and a ground source heat pump. Clever use of eco-friendly technologies, a low tech approach and the modular system developed through it, mean this little getaway can be enjoyed guilt free.

MU50 by Onur Teke exterior

(Image credit: Alt Kalt)

MU50 by Onur Teke context

(Image credit: Alt Kalt)

MU50 by Onur Teke close up

(Image credit: Alt Kalt)

MU50 by Onur Teke exterior detail

(Image credit: Alt Kalt)

MU50 by Onur Teke interior

(Image credit: Alt Kalt)

MU50 by Onur Teke looking out

(Image credit: Alt Kalt)


Ellie Stathaki is the Architecture & Environment Director at Wallpaper*. She trained as an architect at the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki in Greece and studied architectural history at the Bartlett in London. Now an established journalist, she has been a member of the Wallpaper* team since 2006, visiting buildings across the globe and interviewing leading architects such as Tadao Ando and Rem Koolhaas. Ellie has also taken part in judging panels, moderated events, curated shows and contributed in books, such as The Contemporary House (Thames & Hudson, 2018), Glenn Sestig Architecture Diary (2020) and House London (2022).

With contributions from