Brusino Arsizio || Switzerland
Designed to maximize light and integrated into a system of complex relationships with its landscape and site, the Villa on Lake Lugano embodies an effective overlapping of different living situations within a proactive and distinctive interpretation of the relationship between interior and exterior. The slope of the site towards the panorama of the lake made it possible to split the house into two levels, therefore separating living areas through a strict interpretation of spaces. On the lower level, within a regular layout that incorporates the garage, the sleeping area has three bedrooms, aligned along a transverse corridor. There is a clarity to the lines of the spaces, with light wood floors and essential, linear furnishings. And there is a clarity in the vision offered to the eye through the transparency of the glazed floor-to-ceiling
walls, which frame the garden and, in the distance, a landscape that at night becomes dotted with lights. On the top level, the living areas are a celebration of natural light. The structure has the slender, elegant shape of a picture frame and extends along the fully glazed perimeter on all sides, tracing out a polygonal shape with rounded corners. In effect, the space is marked off by the wall around the property (white to accentuate the reflections of light), the dense vegetation on the slopes surrounding the lake, and the view of the lake.
The building sits on the site like a kind of transparent shell that multiplies reflected light, while revealing the lines of the furnishings that define the form of the interior. The translucent membrane of the shell is a hi-tech structure with low-emissivity, high-performance double glazing,
filled with gas to improve thermal performance, while also being an architectural element. It maximizes the relationship between the interior and exterior spaces, while still maintaining the distinction between the two and making it possible to separate them. The transparency of the glazed volume creates a shifting boundary through the constant variations that occur in the way the furnishings are mirrored, the intensity of the natural light, the sense of autonomy that the transparent volume takes on with the addition of artificial light, and the changes affected along the length of the glazed walls by the motorized blinds, which contribute to comfort levels inside. Plants and deciduous trees form a part of the building’s contact with nature, reflecting on a smaller level the landscape as it slopes down toward the lake. A wooden sculpture
places an artwork and a natural material in the space between the building and the garden wall, which surrounds the building on the uphill side. The land surrounding the transparent volume of the villa has several elements: a surface covered with pebbles, on which areas of decking stand out for their colour and the density of the material; shrubs and lawn, which have a softening effect; stone slabs at the entrances; and windows that provide light and views of the sky to the lower floor.
On the upper level, the house resembles a Glaspavillon, a place of wonders worthy of occupying some major park, as well as a small, secluded Glashaus, possible offering temporary accommodation. The project combines contrasting ideas. Its form suggests complexity as a house with a multifaceted character: a place for short stays or a permanent
dwelling, in both cases while savouring the intersection between its spaces and the landscape.
While a unifying factor is artificial light from strip lighting, which marks out a repeated and regular linearity, the two levels have different geometries and layouts. The lower floor follows the orderly perpendicular sequence of the bedrooms, while the upper floor is an interior space free from the rigidity of partitions, in which the structural columns are a feature. The entire perimeter feels continuous: the living area is only separated from the kitchen by an off-centre block, a cross between a wall and a wall system, used for a bookshelf, kitchen utensils, and audio-visual equipment, which also incorporates the bathroom and the staircase between the two levels.
Location: Brusino Arsizio, Switzerland
Gross Floor Area: 350 m2
Architects: JM Architecture – Jacopo Mascheroni
Design Team: Paul Basque (project manager), Rex Gapuz, Jansen Lara
Site Surveys and Layout: Lehmann-Visconti
Contractors: New Job Costruzioni, Metris
Urban Planning: Enzo Albini
Structural: Marco Bernasconi
Thermo-technology: STR Progetti
Curtain Wall and Frames: Casma Involucri Edilizi
Facades and Timber Purlins: Regensberger
Timber Furniture: Fumagalli-Annoni
Plant: Conconi Sud
Floor and Wall Coverings: Dinesen
Garden: Creative Landscape
Photo by © Jacopo Mascheroni
This studio, established in Milan in 2005 by Jacopo Mascheroni, is involved in a wide variety of projects both in Italy and abroad. In every project, the studio places a special emphasis on the finer details, finishes and choice of materials. The integration of home automation, audio-video and energy saving solutions are among the recurring themes in its designs. Both in new builds and renovations, the studio constantly endeavours to integrate architecture into its surroundings by establishing strong relationships between the indoor and outdoor spaces. Great care goes into personalizing every project as part of made-to-measure approach to every detail. Projects by the studio have been featured in the national and international media, including print and online journals.
Jacopo Mascheroni was born in the province of Milan in 1974. He studied at Politecnico di Milano and Ecole d’Architecture Paris Belleville Paris, and completed his studies at the University of California, Berkeley, in 1998. He began his professional career in the United States in 1999 with Stanley Saitowitz | Natoma Architects in San Francisco, where he was involved in several residential projects. He moved to New York in 2001 to join Richard Meier & Partners, where he was project manager and design principal on the Jesolo Lido Village project, which received a number of important international awards and prizes. He also worked on numerous projects in both the United States and Europe. Mascheroni later moved to Italy, setting up JM Architecture in Milan. On several occasions, he has sat on examination panels at the architecture faculties of City College of New York and the New York Institute of Technology. In 2005 he received a Green Card for “Extraordinary Ability in the Field of Architecture” from the United States government.