Atelier Alice Trepp by Mino Caggiula in Switzerland mimics the contours of the site

The atelier for Ecuadorian sculptress Alice Trepp, in Origlio village of Switzerland, is defined by sinuous organic forms and a descending slope with the view of the pastures.

by Saamia Makharia Published on : Jul 16, 2020

In the stunning green landscape of Switzerland’s quiet Origlio village, Mino Caggiula Architects have designed an atelier for Ecuadorian sculptress Alice Trepp. Designed to mirror the thought and philosophy of its client, the atelier takes root in a gently descending slope, framing breathtaking views of the expansive green pastures, distant mountains and a lake below. The site harking back memories of ancient Greek theatres, which boasted of incredible sceneries and cautious contouring, inspired the architects to deftly weave the dwelling according to the contextual orography. Built to merge naturally into the slope of the terrain, architect Mino Caggiula and his team assiduously ensured that no apparent hiatus is established between the new build and the immediate vernacular architecture. Rather than creating a mere box, the architect wished to “marry the land in the most sinuous and harmonious way possible”.

  • Aerial view of Atelier Alice Trepp in Origlio village, Switzerland | Atelier Alice Trepp by Mino Caggiula Architects | STIRworld
    Aerial view of Atelier Alice Trepp in Origlio village, Switzerland Image Credit: Paolo Volonté
  • Existing site contour model | Atelier Alice Trepp by Mino Caggiula Architects | STIRworld
    Existing site contour model Image Credit: Paolo Volonté

The design concept for Atelier Alice Trepp, a home-cum-studio, relied on establishing a peaceful symbiosis with nature by following and extruding the contour lines of the site. As such, the volumes take shape from the careful analysis of exiting site morphology, which resulted in raising two contour lines towards the sky as green roofs and wedging the atelier within the aperture. These green roofs, arising from the terrace like configuration of the home, spill vegetation over onto the building elevation.

  • The atelier’s green roofs and terrace like levels| Atelier Alice Trepp by Mino Caggiula Architects | STIRworld
    The atelier’s green roofs and terrace like levels Image Credit: Paolo Volonté
  • Diagram illustrating how existing contour lines have been cut | Atelier Alice Trepp by Mino Caggiula Architects | STIRworld
    Diagram illustrating how existing contour lines have been cut Image Credit: Paolo Volonté

The walls and roof planes curve to the site, creating organic forms into which the interior spaces are inserted. Using fair-faced reinforced concrete as the primary building element, the atelier exhibits an inherent sculptural quality complimenting its owner Alice Trepp. The interiors are replete with sunlight owing to the ample glazing following the building’s solid sweeping curves, while the deep concrete roof overhangs provide shade. In addition, the glass facade maximises on unencumbered views of the surrounding landscape, which when combined with the solid concrete, further enhances the sinuous building form. Trepp, a sculptor and an artist, believes Mino Caggiula Architects have designed “a house full of motion,” just like her sculptures.

  • Sweeping curves defining Atelier Alice Trepp’s organic shape | Atelier Alice Trepp by Mino Caggiula Architects | STIRworld
    Sweeping curves defining Atelier Alice Trepp’s organic shape Image Credit: Paolo Volonté
  • Atelier’s glass facade | Atelier Alice Trepp by Mino Caggiula Architects | STIRworld
    Atelier’s glass facade Image Credit: Paolo Volonté

The construction of the ‘organic’ programme pivots around a central core – ‘a cenote.’ Puncturing the volume, this terrestrial sinkhole like depression is open to the sky, featuring a tranquil pool of water and overhanging vegetation. Being partially open, the cenote gives the Atelier Alice Trepp the feel of a natural cave, allowing the interior and exterior spaces to blend together, interacting with the light play and natural context.

  • Floor plan | Atelier Alice Trepp by Mino Caggiula Architects | STIRworld
    Floor plan Image Credit: Paolo Volonté
  • Formwork for concrete wall construction | Atelier Alice Trepp by Mino Caggiula Architects | STIRworld
    Formwork for concrete wall construction Image Credit: Paolo Volonté

Reflecting and refracting in a pool of water, the cenote creates light shows; the change in colour and intensity marking the passage of time. With its encircling shape and play of light, coupled with vibrations, views, and smells from the surrounding landscape, the cenote creates an immersive environment ideal for artistic inspiration and contemplation. In the words of Mino Caggiula Architects, an architecture firm based in Lugano, this composition allowed them “to liberate the artist, as if she were lying on the water, embraced not only by the territory but also from all the sensorial aspects fundamental for an artist in the transformation of her works of art, perhaps even before her inspiration”.

While Mino Caggiula served as the design architect, Alberto Bernasconi was the project architect, and Andrea Maldarizzi took over the role of executive architect.

  • Open-air cenote resembling a cave| Atelier Alice Trepp by Mino Caggiula Architects | STIRworld
    Open-air cenote resembling a cave Image Credit: Paolo Volonté
  • Reinforced concrete walls and roof planes, with vegetation spilling over onto the façade | Atelier Alice Trepp by Mino Caggiula Architects | STIRworld
    Reinforced concrete walls and roof planes, with vegetation spilling over onto the facade Image Credit: Paolo Volonté

Project Details

Name: Atelier Alice Trepp
Location: Origlio, Switzerland
Design architect: Mino Caggiula
Project architect: Alberto Bernasconi
Executive architect: Andrea Maldarizzi
Design team: Laura Martinez, Maurizio Civelli
Client: Alice Trepp
Category: Private house
Project year: 2019

Comments

Comments Added Successfully!

About Author

Saamia Makharia

Saamia Makharia

Studying architecture in an art school context, Saamia's creative process relies heavily upon establishing synergies between art, architecture and the world. She is keen to explore how writing, researching, drawing and making can be used to better understand the spirit of a place, and that is what drew her into interning at STIR.

Recommended

LOAD MORE
see more articles
1270,1252,1118,1263,1174

Keep it stirring

get regular updates SIGN UP

Collaborate with us

This site uses cookies to offer you an improved and personalised experience. If you continue to browse, we will assume your consent for the same.
LEARN MORE AGREE