"House Rizza appears as a square floor ""tower-house"" of 6 x 6 m, on 4 levels. Due to restrictions set by local building laws, the envelope has not changed: the openings remained the existing ones, as well as the height of the eaves, the ridge and the type of pitched roof. The load-bearing exterior walls are the only pre-existing elements that remained untouched. The interior was totally emptied, partly because of the precarious condition of the walls and floors, and completely rebuilt.
The project wants to underline the historical background of the building on the outside while on the inside the intention is to give people the perception of a bigger space then the bare 30 square meter on each floor:
The windows are flushed with the inner surface of the 50 cm wall structure (to increase the perception of the old walls from outside)
The double height space in the living room increase the perception of verticality and size of the spaces
The lightweight metal stairs is visible from all spaces which yearn for a visual relationship with each other.
House Rizza is located in Vacallo, a village of 3000 inhabitants in the canton of Ticino (Switzerland) suburb of main cities such as Mendrisio and Chiasso. The town was originally a farming village, which gradually developed into a residential area during the twentieth century. The house is in the ""historic core"" of the town, with a portion of settlements dating back to the XVIII sec.
The project deals with the strict swiss laws that don't allow modifying existing openings and roof structure of the building. The project though wants to take out the most out of the 6 x 6 meters of the interior spaces and to underline the massive structure of the thick old walls of the existing building
The southern part of Switzerland has a beautiful landscape which is suffering from the increasing urban sprawl and waste of land. I believe that renovations of existing building within the areas of urban cores or within their suburbs could be a great and forced answer to that."