Located in Sant Abbondio, Switzerland and designed by Wepi de Meuron Romeo Architetti this cubic concrete home is located on a steep slope that cradles it on 3 sides. The fourth side is where all the magic happens. This side faces out towards an awesome water view. Here, the façade is pierced with windows of all sizes; each with a deep sill to create much needed shade for the interior. The natural concrete facade is in complete harmony with the setting and the seemingly sporadic (but well thought out) placement of the windows keeps it from overpowering the surrounding land. Landscaping is also kept to a minimum allowing both the natural and man-made elements to be in complete harmony with each other.
When the weather permits, the homeowners can enjoy the view from their rooftop deck. Surrounded for safety reasons with clear glass panels, the natural concrete deck leaves the impression of being on a rock abutment rather then a roof. The uninterrupted panoramic views are rightfully the star of the show without any distraction from the building itself.
The architects created two distinctly different garden areas on the roof, adjacent to the deck. The plantings where chosen not to compete with the view, while softening the surrounding hardscape. A cut out in the roof looks down and into the patio below.
The patio has both covered and open areas so that it can be enjoyed no matter what the weather. A small sitting area is situated in the centre offering the homeowners and their guests a place to congregate. Exterior plantings are kept pruned so as not to interfere with the views and the deck treatment is given a textorial quality with the use of stone set into the concrete. The roof of the patio is covered in pale, weatherworn planks.
Large sliding glass panels stack to one side to let the homeowner enjoy an indoor / outdoor experience whenever possible The glass panels of the doors are framed in the same natural wood as the outdoor furnishings and the weatherworn roof planks continue down the wall and across the ceilings on the inside livings spaces.
Inside the home the décor continues the indoor / outdoor feeling. The same chairs used on the patio are also used at the Dining Room table and the same weatherworn planking continues across the ceilings and along the walls. Tongue and Groove stacking tables in simple silhouettes offer a nod to the past while keeping the clean lines of the minimalist design aesthetic.
To keep the focus on the stunning views, all the walls are kept unadorned and accessories are at a bare minimum. Only a plate of fruit on the Dining Room table offers any pop of colour.
Although the home only uses concrete and wood for both its structure and furnishings, it is kept light and airy by the use of windows, cut outs, weather worn and warm finishes to the wood and natural finishes to the concrete.
On the far side of the living space, the kitchen is faced in flat panels of wood that is identical to the woods used in the patio doors. The kitchen peninsula is topped with a thick slab of concrete. A two sided fireplace separates the living from the dining space and more exposed stones create a floor detail opposite to the patio wall
To keep the minimalist feel running throughout the home, the fridge is paneled in the same finish as the cabinets and the sink and stovetop are set into the concrete topped peninsula This leaves a clean long line of uninterrupted floor to ceiling cabinets on the far wall with prep space saved for the 48″ deep peninsula. This view of the home shows the same Tongue and Groove detailing used on the stacking coffee tables is also used on the Dining Room table.
Located between the bank of cabinets and the peninsula is a hidden stairwell that leads to the lower level. A small detail of exposed stone delineates the division between the kitchen and the stairs.
The lower level is where the bedrooms are. In the Master Bedroom, a simple bank of closets follow the same flat panel design as the kitchen and the bedding is done in a deep midnight blue – one of the few places that a colour has been used.
In the evening, when all the lights are turned on, the façade of the building takes on a life of its own. Light spills forth from the various sized windows creating an abstract pattern against the night sky.
Architecture by Wespi de Meuron Romeo Architetti
Photography by Hannes Henze