An incision in a meadow. This simple ‘gesture’ is applied by the architects Stefania Saracino and Franco Tagliabue to successfully insert a new tourism facility with a residential annex in the Alpine landscape.

Casa Riga is a partially underground structure that exploits a natural slope, looking towards the valley with a large glass facade. We are on the outskirts of the hot springs area of Comano, in Trentino Alto Adige, a natural context of great beauty where meadows, pastures and orchards punctuate a large, sunny plateau.

The challenge that faced the young designers was how to make a discreet presence, but without sacrificing a strong (and sustainable) character. The meadow continues on the roof without interrupting the landscape, making the residence ‘invisible’ from uphill, and perceptible only from below, as a single horizontal incision.

The volume incorporates all the residential functions of the owner, an agricultural entrepreneur, and those of a tourism facility, lightening their bulk and simplifying their layout. While the house opens to the wet with the glass facade, the tourist lodge faces south, towards the forest, giving the rooms a beautiful view and optimal exposure to sunlight.

The ingenious typological solution of Casa Riga relies on the use of wood for the entire underground structure: besides offering high levels of comfort, this choice is ecological, and generates excellent thermal insulation.

The building has won many awards for its high standards of sustainability: Casa Riga has CasaClima Gold certification issued by the Alto Adige Energy Agency, thanks to its very low energy consumption and very limited operational costs.

Text by Laura Ragazzola – Photo by Davide Cornacchini