Architects: SAOTA (Stefan Antoni Olmesdahl Truen Architects) with SRA Kössler & Morel Architects
Location: Geneva, Switzerland
SAOTA Project Team: Stefan Antoni, Greg Truen & Juliet Kavishe
SRA Project Team: Karin Fatio & Pierre Kössler
Interior design: Antoni Associates – Mark Rielly
Project area: 2,800 sqm
Project year: 2010
Photographs: Stefan Antoni
The owner commissioned SAOTA to design his Geneva base for his family home and office. Passionate about design and architecture, this is the 4th home SAOTA have undertaken for him. The others, in Cape Town and Paris and one in Senegal are manifest statements of exciting, even provocative contemporary architecture.
“The dramatic triangular shaped site, with very restrictive design and building parameters made SAOTA come up with a reductive design that developed as a result of carving and sculpting away forms from a triangular footprint’, explained Stefan Antoni.
Partner Greg Truen describes the building as ‘an expression of an emerging African aesthetic in the sure way it plays with texture, materials and the way it connects to the exterior’. ‘Conceptually, Africans have a very significant view of shelter’ he continues. ‘For us, the flat roof is more essential than the vertical wall. That’s all we need. But, with a harsher environment, Europeans have distanced themselves from the outdoors and are used to living with more barriers between them and nature’.
On either side of the 20 meter wide channel sits the two portions that make this house, the main house and the annex. What link the two buildings are the cinemas, spa, auditorium and garages underneath. The main house is a combination of round edged cubes and triangular masses that form the L-shape of the living spaces. A double volume living area with a curved wall on the façade facing the lake, flows into a dining area and kitchen on the ground floor and bedrooms, a lobby and en-suite’s on the top level. The top floors are accessed by a glass cylinder encased lift.
The annex houses a guest suite and what unifies the two are their materiality and spacial relationship to each other, making the gap in between read rather like a pause in time as opposed to an empty space.