According to architect Jacopo Mascheroni, people from the village of Brusino Arsizio, Switzerland (population 475), have been trying to get a glimpse of the house he designed for Nicoletta Messina, a financial consultant, and her family. The 3,700-square-foot polygonal glass pavilion and garden above a partially buried lower level is almost hidden behind walls on a hill. An engineering feat resulting in an innovative modern artifact, it is unlike any other house in the village.

Mascheroni, who worked for Stanley Saitowitz/Natoma Architects in San Francisco and Richard Meier & Partners in New York City before founding JM Architecture in 2005 in Milan, admits that his client was brave. “I asked him for a house with many large windows,” says Messina, “and then I gave him carte blanche.”

With Lake Lugano on one side and the Swiss Alps on the other, a glass house on a hill seemed the obvious move. But the challenges of a steep slope, building-code setbacks, and surrounding houses made a typical solution impractical and undesirable. Instead, Mascheroni carved into the slope and inserted a reinforced concrete structure, which is approached from a private lane leading to a garage on the west.

The underground level comprises three bedrooms, two baths, an office, formal entry, laundry, staircase, and playroom. Rather than facing out toward houses that block the lake view, the bedrooms open onto a garden enclosed by a wall and tall hedges. Climb the stairs to the public spaces of the house and you find another garden — on 2 feet of earth atop the lower-level roof. Here the house’s curved glass walls allow extensive views of the landscape beyond a perimeter wall to the northeast and a parapet wall to the southwest.

Within the glazed pavilion, no walls divide the living areas, but a central, white-lacquered rectilinearwood volume contains the kitchen, bathroom, stairway, and all mechanical and technological equipment.

Geothermal heat pumps, a rainwater collection system, and radiant heating are some of the environmentally friendly systems used. The house is sculptural, sustainable, and practical. Messina, who works in the house, says that to witness the lights of the village and lake from the upstairs pavilion each night “is a wonderful experience. I live so much more intensely than ever before.”

Via Ceresio, 1
20154 Milano
T +39 02 331 46 91
Email: info@jma.it
Web:  www.jma.it


Nicoletta Messina

Via Ceresio, 1
20154 Milano
T +39 02 331 46 91
Email: info@jma.it
Web: www.jma.it

Personnel in architect's firm who should receive special credit:
Jacopo Mascheroni (principal in charge)

Paolo Basco, Rex Gapuz, Jansen Lara (design team)

Interior designer: JM ARCHITECTURE

Structural Engineer: Marco Bernasconi, Chiasso - Switzerland

Mechanical Engineer: STR Progetti, Balerna - Switzerland

Survey: Lehmann-Visconti Sagl, Melano - Switzerland

Building Code Consultant: Enzo Albini, Chiasso - Switzerland

General contractor: New Job Costruzioni SA, Noranco – Switzerland

Interior contractor Metris Srl, Molini di Tures (Bolzano)

Curtain Wall contractor: Casma Involucri Edilizi, Roletto (Torino)

Jacopo Mascheroni
+39 02 331 46 91



Exterior cladding:
Metal/glass curtainwall: Metra Poliedra Sky Fast 80, Metra Poliedra Sky 50

Wood: Larch wood siding painted white

Aluminum: Metra NC 65 STH, Custom made

Glass: AGC Stratobel 66.4 (Planibel Clear + Sunergy Clear) – 18mm Argon 90% - Stratobel low-e 66.2 G (Planibel G + Planibel Clear)

Skylights: Custom made

Entrances: Metra NC 65 STH

Wood doors: Custom made by Fumagalli-Annoni, Mariano Comense (Como)

Cabinet hardware: Blum

Interior finishes
Cabinetwork and custom woodwork: Custom made by Fumagalli-Annoni, Mariano Comense (Como)

Paneling: Douglas solid planks by Dinesen (www.dinesen.com)

Special surfacing: Corian

Floor: Douglas solid planks by Dinesen (www.dinesen.com)

Carpet: Bentzon Carpets

Chairs: Kitchen: Vitra Eames Plastic SideChair.  Dining: Vitra Eames Plastic Armchair

Tables: Dining table custom made, kitchen table Knoll Tulip Table, coffee table Knoll Tulip Table
Other furniture:custom made sofa, custom made beds

Downlights: Targetti Quadro
Exterior: Viabizzuno M4

Add any additional building components or special equipment that made a significant contribution to this project: 
-Geothermal Heat Pump
-Rainwater collection system for landscape irrigation
-Cork particles subfloors