Lugano-based architects Studio Meyer Piattini have recently completed five houses in Barbengo, on the east side of a small hill — named Collina d'Oro, or golden hill — close to Lugano, in a former site of terraced vineyards.
The architect's main intention was to create a volume that would respect the landscape's structure. "We didn't want the built terrain to become fragmented in minimal spaces, deprived from an identity and disconnected between them," state architects Ira Piattini and Lukas Meyer, "but for all of them to be united by a single concept, which would generate both the interior and exterior spaces". "Simultaneously," they add, "it was important to us to build in a dense way, limiting the use of the territory".
From this initial concept derives the final design for the five houses. The unifying thread between them is the idea of the wall, a line which defines both houses and external areas, connecting all the volumes as a single organism. Each different building is placed at different levels, evoking the vineyards that used to occupy the site, around a central courtyard that functions as a communal space. The materials used also evoke vernacular architecture. Two of each house's façades are painted white, creating a distinction between main and secondary walls.
The interiors are organised in a simple and functional manner: one large open space in the ground floor, and three bedrooms in the upper floor. Each house has a different spacial organisation, with different locations for windows and doors, each chosen to frame a specific portion of the surrounding landscape.
Studio Meyer Piattini: five houses in Barbengo
Architects: Ira Piattini and Lukas Meyer architects, Lugano
Design team: Barbara Corbella (collaboration architect)
Structural engineering: Pini & Associati, Lugano
Site overseer: Direzioni Lavori SA, Lugano
Consultants: IFEC SA, Rivera, Sophie Ambroise, Officina del paesaggio
Internal surface: 210 square metres
Total built area: 700 square metres
Volume: 3,700 cubic metres
Cost: 3,500,000 CHF