The project for a family home in Sorengo, a comune bordering on Lugano, had to respect a high number of restrictions tied to the shape of the plot as well as some specific requirements from the clients.
The plot was a long, thin and very steep strip of land, surrounded by two plots, to north and west that were either built upon or in the process of being built upon, whilst there was a thick wood to the east and the access road to the south. Among the main restrictions applying to the terrain, the most relevant were firstly an obligation not to fell five trees (three oaks, a lime and a chestnut) although they were not particularly fine specimens and secondly not to build within prescribed distances from the edges of the plot; distances that were greater than those dictated by the local building regulations of Sorengo due to a prior agreement made among the surrounding inhabitants. Lastly, there could be no external building that lowered or heightened the level of the land by more than a metre.
The clients, a young couple with children, wanted a house of a little over 300msq built exclusively on one level with the exception of an annex for guests measuring 45msq.
Consequently, designing the ground plan for the villa was a question of using all the available space and the result is an unusual plan with a large central patio, governed by the positions of the three oaks, that divides the bedrooms from the living area and that allows all the different spaces to open onto the wood, only a thin strip of which belongs to the property. Hence the rooms have a direct relationship with nature outside, bringing a Mediterranean touch to this Swiss house.
The proportions of the house are dictated by the need to ‘lighten’ the building because it was occupying the entire plot and so risked appearing heavy. For this reason we aimed to create perfect continuity among the dividing walls defining the smaller spaces (the utility rooms, study, small cinema and bathrooms) from the main level and the walls that make up the areas on the upper level, or rather the guest annex, a games room, sunroom, a storeroom for the terrace, the sunny side of the house and the boiler room. Hence producing five spaces, of varied heights, lying on a single podium that links up the various ground levels. The main rooms of the house, protected by an enormous protecting loft that unifies the whole building, are consequently free of structural restrictions and receive light through great open glass windows looking onto the spaces outside.
The building is made of light-coloured cement, treated with reflective paint for aesthetic reasons.