Rossa, Grisons


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The SWISSHOUSE XXXV is part of a broader project of artistic and architectural interventions in the Calanca valley in the heart of the Swiss Alps. A valley that already hosts some of our works, addressing the essence of the architect’s commitment to create a bridge between the DNA of a place and its future through the construction of the territory. In these ancestral places, marked by a prevaricating nature, we discover primary energies to which to we respond. The awareness of the work of those who have preceded us promotes actions of total integration in the context, even through small deeds such as the SWISSHOUSE XXXV.


It is an example of how a small volume can be central to the built landscape. The architect’s intervention emphasises the meanings of the existing structures, interprets a condition of past cultures and links them to a natural and instinctive vision of the place that has become something other than what is was before. This small intervention allows us to read the history of a place and to merge the meanings inherited from the past, highlight them and offer them to the future. Its simplicity allows us to read instinctively the complex articulation of alpine settlements that arise from an extraordinary geography. The movement of the rocky walls, the erosion of the Calancasca river, the stubbornness of a plant and animal life make this enchanted place a comfortable habitat despite its initial impervious appearance.


The volume is in dialogue with the vernacular buildings present in the village’s nucleus, it takes on its forms and dimensions, but escapes an immediate perception, offering up continuous surprises for its dynamism extracted from a cubic matrix. The primary shape of the cube soothes us and makes us feel the gravity that keeps us firm to the earth, while its upward spiralling development breaks the symmetry and makes the space dynamic and light like the wings of a bird.


This lightness that can be read from the inside in contrast with the external presence and enriches the experience of a journey that influences the moods of the inhabitants in positive terms, a sense of calm and freedom, underlined by unexpected views to the outside. The openings are oriented so that the surrounding landscape merges inside in a flow of nearness and distance, capturing the transformations of the environment given to us by natural light. A world of emotions in a minimal existential space.


The roof has a complex design at first sight, it is the result of an analysis of the surrounding context, of the different types of roofs and slopes present in the village of Augio. The inclined surfaces suddenly disappear from view and you do not have a clear perception until you enter the building and, thanks to the double height you can grasp the spatiality of the small body as a whole. It is not the search to express a virtuosity but to emphasise the importance and meaning of the roof through the simple pleasure of an unexpected perception.