Project NamePyramid House
Set among detached houses and small vineyards at the foothills of the Lepontine Alps, outside of Locarno, Switzerland, Pyramid House stands out for its bold, monolithic massing, which imbues the building with a sculptural monumentality and hermetic sensibility quite unlike its suburban context. Designed by London and Lugano-based DF_DC, an architectural and urban design practice founded by Dario Franchini and Diego Calderon, the building eschews any sign of domesticity – no gabled roof, shaded porch or orderly rows of windows are to be found here – embracing instead a pyramid-like concrete volume whose pitched shape points towards the mountains. Turning its back to the neighbourhood, the house’s impenetrable exterior belies “porous interiors”, as the architects point out, which open up onto a private garden.
A discrete concrete door that seems to disappear into the concrete structure, one more element of the house’s unconventional architecture, unexpectedly leads, via a pebbled passage, to a garden where it becomes apparent that what appears from the street to be a single prismatic block is in fact a two-pronged volume. Accessed through the same passage, the interior of the house is centred on an L-shaped open-plan communal space housing the living room on one side and the kitchen and dining area on the other. Wall-to-wall glazing connects the space to the garden outside and floods the interiors with natural lighting, as well as much needed sunlight in the winter months due to its south-western orientation. On the back, auxiliary spaces buffer the living areas from the street, while at both ends, where the height drops at its lowest, two external rooms can be accessed through open passages.
An elliptical staircase between the living and dining areas leads to the bedroom and study upstairs, tucked under the apex of the sloping roof. Devoid of windows on the external walls, the bedrooms are naturally lit and ventilated via glazed folds on the zinc roof which funnel daylight inside as well as guide views out towards the top of the mountains rather than the immediate suburban surroundings. A minimalist, all-white interior aesthetic complements the building’s sculptural architecture and further enhances the project’s ascetic sensibility and meditative character.