Casa Larga / Daniele Claudio Taddei

© Bruno Helbling

Architects: Daniele Claudio Taddei
Location: Brissago,
Client: Daniel B. Milnor, Stefan Lüttecke, Zürich
Photographs: Bruno Helbling

Casa Larga stands like a monolith in the middle of a Ticinese vineyard, jutting high above Lake Maggiore. After a stroll through the village of Incella, beyond the narrow medieval alleys, the view expands to reveal a breathtaking view. From the picturesque, populous Magadino plain to the north, the eyes wander far down the lake to Italy in the south and rest upon the hills of the Gambarogno mountain chain across the lake. The house seems to float above the hill in the midst of this fantastic landscape. Despite its location at the edge of the village, the compact building fits into its surroundings in a natural manner. Its sleek structure, which is reminiscent of the agricultural outbuildings commonly found in the area, is not an alien style. The traditional division of volume has been respected and freely interpreted.

© Bruno Helbling

Visitors approach the building from below – its situation on the slope makes it appear higher and larger. Two hundred years of vineyard terracing was left untouched during construction. Despite its size, Casa Larga appears to be nearly weightless in this solid environment. This feeling intensifies upon entering the building. The light-flooded stairwell connects all the floors with a boyant wooden construction. The building is accessible from the basement floor and reaches up 4 stories in a tower-like fashion. Horizontal corridors have been dispensed with. Vertical lines dominate the building’s motif, which is also echoed in the rhythmically placed, high-reaching windows.

ground floor plan
upper floors plans

The principle of openness determined the division of space. On the top floor, the open plan kitchen transitions into a spacious living area that flows out onto the south-facing terrace. The kitchen and living room are central meeting places within the house, in which the social life of the home takes place. The generous, three-winged window opens up the view out over the lake and surroundings. Access to the narrow viewing balcony facing west is over 3 meters wide and can be open along its entire length. The warm air ventilating fireplace is attached outside to the façade to avoid optically burdening the interior space.

The over five-meter tall atelier room looks out over both the lower floors. The owner of the house – an artist – gains inspiration for his work from the breathtaking view that can also be seen from this room. The garden can also be accessed from here. The gallery, which can be used as a guest room as well, lends a special accent. There are additional bedrooms and bathrooms on both floors on the south side of the house.

© Bruno Helbling

Several factors played essential roles during the planning of the house. From the beginning, the builder and the architect played with the idea of building a simple barn as a neutral, creative space to foster the artistic process. While the house is not constantly occupied, it is used throughout the year, so the construction biology played a major role. The target was to be able to create a comfortable room climate spontaneously in any season. This goal was met with a moisture porous wall construction made from organic materials. The cellulose-filled sandwich-style walls actually breathe. This choice also helped achieve heating energy efficiency. The house warms up very quickly.

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The building costs – and this was made clear right from the start – were to be kept within a narrow range. The stylistic limitation to simple shapes and minimalistic solutions (less is more) facilitated the meeting of this requirement. The economic considerations influenced the choice of construction as a prefabricated wood element building. This enabled costs to be kept low for the assembly while also solving what appeared to be a serious logistical problem at the site. The property was not connected and there still is no street access to it today.

The prefabricated and completely finished timber panels were trucked over the Alps. The windows arrived integrated into the panels as were the installations, while the surfaces were pretreated. The house was erected upon its foundation on site in just three days. This was only possible with the use of a helicopter.

© Bruno Helbling

The lacking street connection turns out to be a great advantage of the Artist’s Barn. Far from any street noise, the Casa Larga provides its visitors a creative break surrounded by natural beauty, peace and quiet. The vertical, untreated strips of larch timber that line the facade are well-adapted to the surroundings. Larch wood weathers to natural black tones and exudes a calm dignity that mirrors the typical wooden structures of the area. Light, air and landscape come together in perfect harmony.

Cite: "Casa Larga / Daniele Claudio Taddei" 23 Apr 2010. ArchDaily. Accessed 24 Apr 2014. <http://www.archdaily.com/?p=57063>

11 comments

  1. Thumb up Thumb down 0

    please, help… it’s so boring :-(. in such beautifull place such noninteresting/poky building.

    I quest that architect is a studend, who just started his own career. maybe for the begining to practis a bit and after then show the best of your works. Sorry.

  2. Thumb up Thumb down 0

    Arnold. You are boring. How can you tell that it is boring for the owners? Do you know them? I really like it. It’s simple. A private house doesn’t have to be spectacular. What is more important: Living or the house itself? I personaly would never like a house who always distracts me with irritating shapes or something. A private house should act like the owners want.

  3. Thumb up Thumb down 0

    First topic means that now creativity in this vilage house, I think. Of course, it is calm and relaxable house, but should it be like example on this site?… May be just about using old style boards for elevations on cubic shap.

  4. Thumb up Thumb down 0

    the new modern Swiss architecture is impressve. in this site, I quess, there’re some very good exampless. and the traditional (living) Swiss architecture (forms, materials) is very nice and attractive.

    so.. if you compare everything, you’ll see what “level” of architecture is that Casa Larga house. as the building, it very neutral (not very bad, but not good); and one important detail – I would never say, that this house is in Switzerland (first I thought that it is in Argentina, Peru or smth else).
    I cann’t see any quality of Swiss architecture.

    It is very and very simple architecture; like student work. in Swiss are many variuos arch.style: villas, summerhouse, apartments and so.. BUT they have Swiss arch.”individuality” (if we talking about really GOOD architecture).

    Casa Larga – is “unisex” architecture; and very average. sorry for that. the plot (that building stands) and the views are beautifull and I think cost many (money), but the architecture is not such “luxurious”. therefore it is sad and boring a bit.

  5. Thumb up Thumb down 0

    Plan with kitchen and the picture of the kitchen aren’t matching. One of the two is mirored

  6. Thumb up Thumb down 0

    arnold, i think you misunderstand the meaning of architecture, it’s not about providing impressions or placing rich forms or elements in the house; it’s just about giving an inner space in where life can be lived. so the house it’s not the house itself but its surroundings. i don’t want my house to be impressive to people like you or others in my hood, i just want my house to be simple and provide me such quality of space.
    You could talk about some design fails, comment the elevations, say what you would do in the same site… instead of saying “hey, this house is boring”…

  7. Thumb up Thumb down 0

    I like it. Looks as though life would be rich living in this place. Not overcomplicated. Good light, good air. Beautiful views with an nice level of privacy, enjoying the garden and lower levels. With the greatly elevated communal top floor.

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