Private House - Lugano (CH)

Concrete and terracotta

A contemporary style villa built on an outcrop of land. The severity of the concrete structure is tempered by the dry stone walls and the terracotta pavers that extend inside and outside the house
Laura Ragazzola
Michael Dolinski

This bold and original project demonstrates how a modern building can integrate naturally into the landscape. Built on a narrow crest of land, the villa extends along a kind of porticoed platform that also includes a swimming pool. The designer, architect Michael Dolinski, originally from Poland but who studied in London and is now a naturalised Italian, explained to us: „The project for the house reflects the complete creative freedom I was given by the owner. The only constraint was the geography of the location, which boasts a splendid view over lake Lugano, and the unique morphology of the terrain consisting of a series of ridges once used as agricultural land. Indeed it was the very nature of the landscape that determined the structure of the house, giving me the idea to use dry stone retaining walls. But that’s not all. To appreciate the splendid panorama, the house opens onto the outside with large windows, an internal courtyard and a large arcade that frame the green of the landscape and the blue of the sky.“ The well-balanced play of empty and filled spaces gives a sense of extreme lightness to the entire building thanks to the skilful use of traditional and modern materials. The reinforced concrete of the structure coordinates with the terracotta pavers (produced by Sannini Impruneta) that extend as an uninterrupted surface on both the inside and outside of the building. „I wanted a material that would work well for the swimming pool surround and patio while also coordinating well with the interior furnishings of the house,“ the architect explained. Terracotta proved to be the ideal material. It has good resistance to frost and the elements and low slipperiness, and is also a warm, versatile material that becomes an excellent backdrop for design pieces. Furthermore, its colour and textural qualities transform it into a furnishing element, particularly in the large living room where the items of furniture are reduced to a bare minimum. Like the terracotta pavers, the stone wall also extends inside the house, accentuating the sense of continuity between inside and out. But the interaction with the landscape does not stop here: the internal courtyard where guests are received also plays an important role. This partly covered space acts as a link between the two volumes making up the villa: the public space with the large living room facing onto the swimming pool, and the smaller private space that houses the owners‘ bedroom. The covered area accommodates a dining area that extends in front of the kitchen and opens to the outside by way of sliding glass doors. The villa also has a second level above the daytime area with additional bedrooms and a second living room. This is the starting point for a raised walkway, a kind of covered gallery that runs alongside the swimming pool as far as the small changing cubicle on the far side of the pool. The carefully designed access routes allow guests to enjoy privacy and independence from the house owners.

Sannini Impruneta, Fornace Sannini
15x30x1,6 cm
Technische Eigenschaften
Water absorpion (ISO 10545-3): 0,05%
Chemical resistance (ISO 10545-13): garantita
Resistance to deep abrasion (ISO 10545-6): ≤538/mm3
Frost resistance (ISO 10545-12): compliant
Modulus of rupture and breaking strength (ISO 10545-4): ≥15,3 N/mm2
Slip resistance (DIN 51130): R 13
Linear thermal expansion (ISO 10545-8): compliant
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