On the shore of Lake Maggiore, mere footsteps from the Italian border, a new home stands four stories above the blue beauty below. The House in Brissago by Wespi de Meuron Romeo Architects is a concrete monolith, a contemporary home with seamless views of the lake. Despite its hard angles and firm shape, it feels to be right at home in the natural environment of Brissago, Switzerland.
The House in Brissago is built into the topography of the mountains that rise out of Lake Maggiore. As you approach from the land, the home seems small and utilitarian, just a few concrete walls that separate a parking lot from the cliff. If you approach from the Lake, you see a four-story home that towers above, with a hint of that parking lot at its peak. Unlike most homes, the House in Brissago is built downward, with parking up top and a series of floors built down into the cliff below.
The two lower levels of the home feature private rooms, bedrooms and bathrooms. This leaves the public spaces, like living rooms, dining areas and a kitchen, to the top levels to make the most of the view. Guests spend their time in the shared spaces above, as floor-to-ceiling windows and outdoor patio spaces make the view the main event.
One stand-out feature of the House in Brissago is its material construction. Its built with washed concrete, and these walls are solid from exterior to interior. The cool, natural color of the stone-tinted concrete feels at home in the mountain environment. Despite the hard angles, the home feels alive, as if it was carved out of the rock along the cliffside. The interior spaces feel cavernous, but comfortable. It’s rare to find a home that is so rigid in linear philosophy but balanced in nature and intent. It is a contemporary design indeed, but it feels much more functional than modern just for the sake of modernity. [photography by hannes henz]