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Villa 4L

Freedom afforded by discipline

Nicola Probst Architetti

Villa 4L
By Caterina Testa -
Knauf, Ariostea have participated in the project

Overlooking the lake of the same name, the town of Lugano extends for a few kilometers along the shore; its urban development also penetrates into one of Canton Ticino’s deep valleys. The complex, articulated morphology of the Lugano valley has strongly conditioned how people live there: the oldest, densest settlement is congregated along the lake shore, including the main services and institutions; the more recent part of town, consisting of a regular and relatively compact fabric formed by small buildings of various heights, has expanded over the flat land. On the surrounding heights and in the deep side valleys is a spread-out patchwork of villas and single-family houses, densely dotting steep slopes in an exclusive and privileged place of residence.

Lugano-born architect Nicola Probst has designed a residence for one of the steep slopes in this part of town that was conceived and modelled out of the area’s topography. The people who owned the plot, a young couple with two small children, wanted the option of adding two more units to their own while at the same time enjoying absolute privacy from any tenants.

Nicola Probst’s designers followed a context-oriented approach to arrive at the optimal solution suggested by the place itself. They came up with a volume over four levels to fill the height difference on the property lot, while at the same providing the privacy and exclusivity stipulated by the clients.

A structural response to the topography of place led to this harmonious and varied composition of volumes and spaces: the overlapping levels are conceived as open, staggered boxes, delimited laterally by partitions that allow for wide openings towards the valley panorama. The load-bearing side walls free the main façades from the orthogonal rigor of the overlapping volumes: the southern...

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