House in Lumino / Davide Macullo Architects

© Enrico Cano, Como

Architects: Davide Macullo Architects
Location: Lumino, Switzerland
Project Architects: Davide Macullo, Marco Strozzi
Design collaborator: Michele Alberio
Works supervision: Ennio Maggetti
Structural engineer: Ingenere Andreotti & Partners
Building engineer: IFEC Consulenza SA
Client: Cristina e Curzio De Gottardi
Site area: 497 sqm
Building area: 133 sqm
Total floor area: 221 sqm
Project Year: 2007-2009
Photographs: Enrico Cano, Como

Located in the Swiss Alpine village of Lumino, just north of Bellinzona, this house stands as a monolithic element, quietly complementing and echoing its context. The surrounding area is characterised by traditional stone built houses, many of which date back centuries and are marked by their use of this single construction material. The new house is intended as a relevant response to and contemporary interpretation of the vernacular; its exposed reinforced form recalls the revered strength and resonates the presence of these old stone houses. Sitting on the edge of the old village, the house acts as a sort of bastion between the old core and the modern residential expansion.

plan 01
plan 02
plan 03

In addition to the local scale references and material cues siphoned from the physical context, the concept and approach to the project was further influenced by the clients’ expressed desire for a minimalist aesthetic, both internally and externally. As such, the quality of the spaces in the house would be defined explicitly by the architecture and not by objects placed within it. The idea of the ‘minimalist monolith’ was adopted as the conceptual generator of the project and became a principle applied to all elements of the both the functional and construction programme, from the foundations up to the smallest finishing details.

The geometry of the plan is generated by two shifted parallelepipeds and follows the fall of the site. The typology created by this staggered geometry underlies both the peculiarities of the landscape while also offering each of the levels a direct relationship with the surrounding gardens. The double system of vertical connections, one internal and one external, relates all the spaces of the house in a spiral movement and is in a constant play with its new inhabitants’ perception of time and scale. What is interesting about the house is the ability of the spaces to expand and extend into the landscape, allowing the external become part of the composition. While the individual spaces may be defined geometrically, each space flows into the next and continues to the external.

© Enrico Cano, Como

The principle of the house is to protect and guarantee an intimacy and privacy for its inhabitants but also, somewhat paradoxically, to represent an air of generosity and an opening up of to the world. The intention is to create places in which residents are open and connected to the wider community in a concrete way, beyond the filter of maddening virtual communication. This physical relationship with the community restores a healthy balance of mind and aptitude.

© Enrico Cano, Como

Excavations into the ground rock were kept to a minimum, with only the service spaces placed underground (-1.4m). Vehicle and pedestrian access is from street level (+0.0m). Half a level up from the entrance hall are two bedrooms, both with direct access onto a terrace(+1.4m). On the next floor (+2.8m) is the master suite, again with its own terrace and access to the garden below. Continuing up the house, we arrive into the dining and kitchen space which opens onto the central south facing loggia (+4.2m), with access to the terraces below. This central loggia, which affords panoramic views over the surrounding rooftops, may also be covered with a hydraulic roof when required. The living space on the top floor overlooks and has access down to the loggia below.

Along with gains from the inherent thermal values of concrete, the house’s sustainable credentials also benefit from a heat pump and photovoltaic cells placed on the roof.

Cite: "House in Lumino / Davide Macullo Architects" 16 Aug 2010. ArchDaily. Accessed 28 May 2015. <>
  • Albert

    If it would be a structure in the middle of nothing I would love it. The general geometry is intelligent; architectonics of the house and spatial feelings emphasized by puritan character of exposed concrete are very imaginative. But something disturbs me to see this type of architecture in the heart of a green Alpine village. Maybe I am wrong or it is just a stigma but those old stone red-roofed homes that you can see on the background fit this kind of environment way better. Again, maybe I am wrong… Otherwise I think the project is a Swiss minimalism at its very best.

  • up_today_arch

    Nice house, but I’v already seen this house here…

  • fabio

    i would like to see the people or the human factor interacting with one these … we always see nice houses , but we never or at i didnt see human element

  • raul LUISONI

    bellisima casa Davide, salutami tanto a Giancarlo Marzullo.
    Raul dalla Agentina

  • frank

    There’s a lot of black walls happening, but very nice project..

  • Mic


    I would like this more if it was in the middle of Tokyo. The building seems to stand out amongst the local native architecture and landscape.

  • Iikka

    If I were to build a house in the mountains, I would do it for the views. This thing has blind concrete walls on three sides, losing 75% of its appeal right there.

  • Katsudon

    “Along with gains from the inherent thermal values of concrete, the house’s sustainable credentials also benefit from a heat pump and photovoltaic cells placed on the roof.”

    And the sustainable credentials of the house have to be put in the balance with the concrete terribly not sustainable life cycle. Concrete need a huge quantity of energy to produce and then releases CO2 all during it’s life. What about using hollow brick blocks or wood?
    I don’t say should not use concrete, but here pointing out at the heat pump and the cells on the roof sounds just like a clear conscience gesture…

    Plus the kitchen/dinning room space look really empty… the height/width proportion looks quite unconfortable and super cold, but not like a design statment would be. It looks like you’re facing the landscapes vastness, cornered in your dinning room.

  • MZ

    Swiss perfection, at its very best. It is modern, without compromise, but this type of modernism has a long tradition in the Lands of the Alps, (in West Austria, esp. the regions of Tirol and Voralberg, in Schwitzerland and the northern italian regions). Offices and Architects like Luigi Snozzi, Christian Kerez, Marte.Marte, Panzeri, etc. made this reduced, monolithic, archaic, abstract architecture to a tradition. This house fits this theme, it is not the neigbouring wood peasants house, it is the grey rock of the mountains that it talks to.

  • æon

    At first sight I see two volumes significantly distanced, so it surprises me to know that it only one house.

    It called my attention to see how seems to have been built, looks like LEGO pieces or a new super-ultra-simple system. The result is very clean.

  • ananda dimitri

    i like the play of solid and void.