Facing the branch of Lake Lugano that extends towards Porlezza, the sequence of deep terraces, flat roofs, entirely glazed facades, transparent parapets, horizontal lines of the string courses and dense vertical series of sunscreen bars contribute to form a figure composed of clear lines, based on the overlaying of horizontal perspectives. A forcefully architectural landscape that nevertheless, as a whole, is shaped to match the natural profile of the hill.
In the complex designed by Carlo e Paolo Colombo on the side of Montagnola in Lugano, all the elements combine in a very unified architectural image, clearly structured and empathic, capable of taking the place of the natural image with clarity, without the rhetoric of ‘green’ architecture at all costs, but with exceptional care and delicacy, limiting excavation, partially recessing large portions of the volumes into the ground, and creating an effective synthesis between the geometry of the composition and the topography of the site.
Perched on the hillside, with six levels in all, crossed by two parallel flights of steps to span a level shift of about 16 meters, the complex extends downhill from the panoramic trail that from the plaza of the Hermann Hesse Museum goes down to the settlement of Certenago, crossing a peaceful residential zone located on the eastern slope of the Collina d’Oro.
Ra Cürta – this is the name of the complex – is formed by four blocks organized around the two staircases, for a total of six apartments, of which four are duplexes, joined by a three-story villa. The entrances face onto the steps which, in turn, connect the residences with the area of shared services: indoor pool, gymnasium, sauna, spa and, on the lower level, a garage placed at the foot of the complex. Everything, of course, can also be reached by means of private elevators.
The problems of building on a slope, with the advantages of the beautiful views and the challenge of a single exposure, have been resolved with great precision. The choice has gone to an L-shaped plan, with an added side orthogonal to the slope to permit extension of the facades exposed to the landscape, while creating large terraces that become dramatic decks with an outdoor pool. On the side of the apartments against the hillside, the architects have placed the corridors leading to the bedrooms, while the technical spaces of the pools, laundry room and storerooms are placed further up.
In the corner of the L-shaped plan, without windows, an ample double-ramp staircase has been installed, accompanied by the private elevator. In the villa on three levels, on the other hand, the side against the hill is entirely occupied by the master bedroom, which is conceived as a unified space together with a large closet, an uninterrupted row of wardrobes and a sumptuous bathroom of 14 square meters.
Project A++ Human Sustainable Architecture (Carlo Colombo, Paolo Colombo)
Photos Giacomo Carena