Permanent art installation or liveable architecture? This surprising construction in the heart of the Swiss Alps, deviates from what a house should be, doors and windows are the only aspect that show it’s a home. Painted in red and green stripes on a white background, it has a cross-shaped plan and rounded shapes, a roof pitch that seems to be in torsion, it presents us with a question, forcing us to take a better look at this "house-thing" as well as its surroundings. We want to understand the reason for our astonishment.
As we pause to look and reflect, the project achieves its main objective: to enhance the landscape and its nature. Started from a collaboration between the Swiss architect Davide Macullo and the renowned French artist Daniel Buren, the living sculpture is a tribute to the union between art and architecture, joint by a virtuous feeling towards the surrounding landscape.
The XXXII House is located in Rossa, about thirty kilometres away from Bellinzona. Here, the roads from lakes Maggiore and Lugano join together and then separate soon after in the two large valleys of St. Gotthard and St. Bernardino, leading north. There, in the middle of a busy bifurcation, the wild Val Calanca, seemingly forgotten by the world, weasels its way in. The road ends at an altitude of 1100 metres at Rossa, a small, unspoilt village of less than two hundred inhabitants.
For the architect Davide Macullo, Daniel Buren's work on the exterior, with its typical stripes and pure colours, represent nature’s simple story. Inside, the quest for simplicity continues with a sudden change in the language: suddenly the space becomes mono-material and monochrome. The open-plan structure is practically empty. With no excesses, wood dominates in all its natural warmth. The few pieces of furniture represent the intellectual and emotional depth of the interior, in the same way as Daniel Buren’s colours correspond to the outside. Laleggera chairs in natural oak by Alias represent the way in which man and his technology have affected a natural material such as wood. Slim Lounge armchairs gently interrupt the monochrome colour palette of the space and offer a comfortable seat from which you can admire the alpine views beyond the windows.
Every opening is adjusted and oriented towards a specific view, carefully picked by Davide Macullo. Different from one another, they evoke very different associations. For the architect, they represent the perception of time, almost as if they were snapshots, far from the speed of the images to which we have become accustomed.
Rossa is a “place of memory” in which culture is expressed through simplicity. The love for this land and its humble but enduring gestures, which have brought Davide Macullo and Daniel Buren up here, comes across in what is basically a tribute to the union between art, architecture and the surrounding landscape. Their inevitable intellectual approach translates into an essential and sincere manifesto that focuses on the relationship between man and nature. And the private building that inside is a spiritual home and outside a magnificent work of public art, has captured people’s attention with its implicit request to look at your surroundings with attention and respect.
A sculptural home in the mountains
Location: Rossa, Val Calanca, Switzerland
>> Brand Channel Alias
Davide Macullo Architects, Lugano, Switzerland
in partnership with Mario Cristiani, Galleria Continua
External artistic project:
Credits: Davide Macullo Architects
Photos Alexandre Zveiger