The plot is located at the edge of a rural village, in a suburb of Geneva, quite close to the city center. A family with two children who loves Brazilian architecture wanted to build there a new house. The sloping site faces south towards the Salève mountain, which majestically overlooks the area. As is the case with most Swiss rural regions today, the zone is under design protection, which represented quite a challenge for designing a contemporary residence.
The almost obligatory position of the volume in the steepest part of the slope, the limited height of the building and the only possible access to the plot from the south-west corner have made the garden a very central element of the project. Enclosing the house softly in a protective atmosphere, it extends the living room area and blurs the limits between inside and outside.
The landscape with the impressive cliffy Salève mountain inspired the design of a solid, autonomous and mineral volume. All enclosing walls are in exposed concrete and were build in one single manufacturing process in order to procure a monolithic aspect without any horizontal division.
Privacy in relation to the neighbouring houses was a vital consideration. Instead of placing windows all around the volume, angled roof-lights stretch across the first floor and let the light flow into the heart of the house.
The project’s organisation is based on a matrix of 3 x 3 units with a hall and staircase in the center.
The singular features of this house consist of three distinct space structures: the ‘glasshouse’ for the most public areas which access the garden on the ground floor; the ‘cave’ for all service areas – excavated into the slope. And the ‘lived-in roof’ with its attic-type roof-lights for bedrooms, bathrooms, dressing room, family room and studio. These elements synergise into a simply solution.