Luca Coffari's G-House: living horizontally

Simple surfaces and clean lines for a sculptural house

by Malcolm Clark
5

g-House by Luca Coffari is located in Ticino, Switzerland. Right from the beginning, the designer wanted to work on a project which envisaged living on one level. All activities, arriving in the car, staying, studying, eating, relaxing and sleeping take place on the same level. An underground part contains utility rooms, storage rooms, the laundry and the cellar.

The second idea behind the concept was for the house to develop on an L-shaped plan to allow two façades to be seen and to exploit the external space at the same level. All this combined with the need to work on the volumes to simplify the surfaces and to give the project a sculptural form.

This attitude”, says Luca Coffari, “has allowed us to create a 'dialogue' with the surrounding mountains and the town of Biasca. The most direct way to seek “clean” forms was to use the exposed reinforced concrete cast without visible joints, coffered with care, cleaned and polished.”

The shape of the building is obtained by processing two initial volumes by subtracting and cutting and subsequently adding a third and a fourth volume.

The first volume is extruded from the ground and defines a plan of 362 square metres where all activities are carried out. We then “stuck” a secondary volume measuring 22.50 x 17.50 x 3.71 m onto the primary volume, the walls are 40 cm thick on the four sides and 66 cm at the top; the secondary volume is suspended on the primary volume, containing all the living areas in the 148 square meters of net heated floor space. After this, a subtraction operation of a part of the secondary volume is made and then another two volumes are inserted. The 60° cut allows the content of the volume to be revealed.

Cutting the “hard exoskeleton” to reveal a “tamed” content, where family life takes place. The completely glazed L-shape façades allow the house to be enjoyed from all the rooms and to access the outdoor lounge.

The subtraction to the secondary volume on the road side creates the access. In this space there is the third L-section volume, with a thickness of 40 cm, which characterizes the entrance. The shape is justified by the static need to support the internal floor freeing the glazed corner from the load bearing pillars. The fourth volume, inserted in the space, forms the “landing” a ramp leading to the house level. The outdoor lounge is in direct contact with the natural land (it is not a roof) and has turfed lawn laid as if it were a carpet.

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g-House 140

g-House

Biasca / Switzerland / 2011