Richard Meier & Partners Architects LLP

Montagnola Residence

Lugano, Switzerland

2011 - 2018

The Montagnola Residence for a family of Art Collectors is situated on a steep hillside in Montagnola, Switzerland at the edge of the Swiss Alps. The residence’s visual relationship with the local context, the direction of the sun and its position along the west facing slope are the key elements that have shaped the general design of the house.

Two rectangular solids are placed parallel to one another and connected by a transparent loggia at the entry level. The loggia functions as the main entrance to the residence. This parti creates an inner courtyard that faces Lake Lugano and takes advantage of the southern exposure and natural light. The bedrooms and private spaces are located within the top level of each solid. On the lower level, the kitchen and large outdoor terrace turn into the connective spaces for these two rectangular solids. This intermediate level serves as the main gathering space, defined by the generous double height fully glazed living rooms and galleries. The lower base volume is partially underground and consists of a covered garage, mechanical and archival rooms. The spa and fitness area at the lower level open towards the garden, the sun deck and the pool.

Every level has access to gardens and terraces, each with different orientations that provide unique views and varying levels of privacy. Internal and external staircases provide vertical circulation between each floor, allowing for the residence to unfold as a procession through a series of modulated spaces, taking one from the outdoors to indoors, and then back outdoors again. All of the rooms of the house, the surrounding landscape and the lake are utilized to animate the spaces of the house with the changing weather and natural light.