This concrete cube, sitting atop an angled site by Lake Maggiore in Switzerland, is the latest residential offering from Swiss design duo Markus Wespi and Jerome de Meuron. Finished in autumn 2012, the house is located in the small village of S'Abbondio, a stone's throw from the Italian border.
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The owners, a design-conscious family of four, approached the architects in 2009 to commission their dream vacation house - with the possibility of becoming the family's main base in the future - and Wespi and de Meuron dully obliged. Three years later the house was complete, providing a contemporary environment of warmth, shelter and comfort in the village's suburban setting.
'The house is located in a relatively new area with different houses around (some built and some in planning) and the concept was to create a simple cube with a certain abstraction to avoid competition,' says de Meuron.
The structure encompasses three floors with the entrance at the lower part of the site. A staircase leads the visitor up from the street level parking space to the first floor and then continues upwards, running parallel to the slope before finally reaching the house's rooftop.
Covering a total of 148 sq m, the generous house comprises the bedrooms on the lower levels and a very open plan kitchen, living and dining area at the top. That floor also includes a patio and large windows, while the part-planted roof doubles as a sundeck.
The naked concrete structure's irregularly placed windows of varied sizes and minimal frames create a playful façade. This is matched with a welcoming, contemporary, bright and open interior, featuring oak wooden accents (for windows, cupboards and furniture) that soften the grey concrete wall and ceilings' strong feel.