House Al Carmelo

House "Al Carmelo" in Locarno Monti

I was approached with an important theme for the Locarnese hillside, concerning a property that had been neglected for many years and the inhabitability of the buildings surrounding it. A significant motivation was that linked to the effort and desire to maintain the properties’ features of single family landowner habitations, avoiding alienation to the numerous people interested in purchasing for speculation via the rebuilding of dwellings with several apartments. Speculation that, in my opinion, has unfortunately already disfigured and penalised a large part of the Locarnese hillside.This intention has in a certain sense sacrificed the exploitation of the property, but the latter has finally found a particularly sensitive buyer capable of appreciating its architectonic features and enviable location, to make it an inhabitable residence.

The project foresaw maintenance of the volume of the existing building and the respect of its main south and west faces. Basically: redevelopment and rebuilding maintaining the existing volume by means of renovation. The buyer wished this as a prerogative for purchasing and I wanted to adhere to and encourage it with particular attention. For the rustic building on the upper part of the property the project also foresaw the recovery of the small inhabitant unit on two floors, maintaining its volume and the thick external walls, this building constitutes a guest dwelling.The intervention would rigorously and simply solve the problems of the recovering of a prestigious urban building in conditions of advanced static and operational ruin. Attention was given specifically to making the newly built internal body independent and distinctive respect to the external shell of historical origin.

When the existing buildings have been completely renovated, it is clear that the project integrates the construction of a semi-underground garage in the south of the lot, with a garden overhead and an oval-shaped swimming pool; the latter, together with the renovation of the rustic building, completed and valorised the entire project. With these interventions it was hoped to realise a simple secondary residence of architectonic consideration. The project foresaw and realised the raising and extension of the supporting wall throughout the residence and the garden, all realised strictly using the same stone fill as that existent. Sound protection using new technologies would have negatively compromised the aesthetics, as can be easily seen and compared in various interventions already carried out in this region.

For the raising of the road wall observing its slope backwards equally to the new over ground walls for the garage, the work was foreseen to be up to standard, covering the parts necessarily built using reinforced cement for reasons of stability with stone masonry.The same method was used for the existing masonry along the Tazzino path, carried out in visible stone.The buildings were entirely restructured and renovated whilst keeping the thick outer walls. The covering of the main building was carried out with a supporting structure in steel profiles in sight from the roof-space with overlying pitch covering in slabs from the Valle Maggia.

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The metal structure and relative covering are separated respect to the existing supporting perimeter walls, forming an empty space made up of small steel columns distanced by glass parts. The same applies to the renovation of the rustic building serving as a secondary dwelling on two floors.

The existing covers of the two bodies respectively composed of two pitches, were realised in four-pitch in order to increase their value, faithfully adhering to the spirit of the best traditional local architecture. The technical plant are of modern conception, studied by specialists and with the installation of a water-air thermo pump. According to my understanding, the project has respected the set building parameters and norms on construction in force. If stone has been the guiding line of this project, special attention has also been given to the garden layout and all the remaining background surface area, with supporting walls and granite pathways and keeping a good part of the valuable plants currently in the ground. A robust and convenient outside stairway entirely in pietra rasa pointing connects all of the residential levels starting from the main entrance. I am certain that this intervention represents a valorisation of a part of this city’s hillside to which I am particularly attached.

Annexes
- Facciata Sud-Ovest

Insights

Giovan Luigi Dazio
Architetto

Via Ramogna 14 | 6600 Locarno
T. +41 (0) 91 751 63 82
N. +41 (0) 79 409 83 63
F. +41 (0) 91 752 23 19
E. glddazio@gld-dazio.ch