Mendrisio & Agno, Ticino, Switzerland


Atelier Grafton - Farrell & McNamara (DIPLOMA)

museum and botanical garden on Lake Lugano

In the Landscape of Ticino, Ponte-Diga (Bridge-Dam) connects the two lakesides of Melide and Bissone and it has a unique character because of its location: in this point, Lake Lugano narrows and its lake bottom almost resurfaces because of moraine and river deposits. The lake itself is almost split in two parts. In this remarkable point, with a width of less than 100 meters, all the infrastructures between Zurich and Milan have found their obvious location and, symbolically, this place hosts a connection between Switzerland and Italy, between north and south. Even so, this link ended up overpowering the surrounding landscape, leading to a separation rather than a connection. This project is part of a redevelopment of the banks, with the creation of a public park for each side of the Ponte-Diga. In the midpoint lies the real heart of the project. Four dark concrete structures rise from the edge of the two parks with a progressive declivity, until they touch each other on the top of the infrastructure. Like four huge “vases”, they contain in their cavities a one hectare botanical garden. The structural form of these “vases” also serves as a symbolic portal of the north-south crossing route. From the base of the portals one climbs into the thickness of the structure with a brunelleschiana stair, which widens into a museum space hidden between the infrastructure and the garden. The exhibition area, which connects the four elements, is illuminated only by the light cuts between the “vases”. Two ramps mark the final ascent to the above botanical garden. Surrounded by the tranquility of a rediscovered nature, one can admire the entire landscape of the lake and its mountains; one feels far away from the confusion of the underlying infrastructure. 


Atelier Quintus Miller

Acquarossa thermal bath

The Terme di Acquarossa, famous for their high mineral content springs that create the only natural red mud in Switzerland, are now waiting to be rehabilitated. Through the albergo diffuso (widespread hotel) typology, some ancient buildings of the neighbouring village are reused to create a new dynamic connection among the parts. From these houses and from the main hotel villa it is possible to access directly to three new small buildings, which hide inside three different thermal functions. Each function corresponds to a different internal structure: stone for the Roman Baths, wood for the Finnish Saunas and bronze for the unique red Mud Bath. Various outdoor pools connect these elements, creating a thermal path around the old Acquarossa village, without compromising the rural landscape. 

Atelier Frédéric Bonnet

productive borders


A new proposal for the railway and the highway in Stabio opens the debate that a factory does not always scar the landscape. An 800m long steel factory stands out above the incoherent mass of factories of the area, and sets a limit for the industrial expansion. Eighty equal “L” shaped hinged portal frames follow the smooth slope of the terrain, creating a torsional twist of the front facade. This twist, barely perceived by a stationary observer, is strenghtened by travelling by train or car. The working process inside is linear. The goods enter from one side and the products exit 800m after directly onto a freight train. Parellel to the overhead travelling crane is the circulation, that accomodates the spiral starcaises to the upper offices, and an exposition of metal art by Xhixha. 


Atelier Valerio Olgiati

two opposites

Public and private. These are the two opposites of the project: a student house on the Naviglio Grande in Milan that lives two opposite realities. The ground floor on the street level, all glazed, allows people to look inside and walk around the building, that becomes a part of the street. From the common space, like a shop, the student goes up in his room where there are no windows but only a huge patio. The room and the patio are part of the same space. Here he is really alone. Concrete beam walls placed on top of thick columns are the only structure. The beams continue after the edge of the house, reaching the existing perimetral blind facades for bracing.

Virginia Tech - Heinrich Schnoedt (ABROAD)

Culinary Arts College


The Association of Collegiate Schools of Architecture (ACSA) announced the 12th annual steel design student competition.

This year the competition challenges architecture students to design a Culinary Arts College in a urban setting. We chose an empty space used as a parking inside our campus. On this plot the one storey building made of four Vierendeel trusses is raised up from the ground. It leaves the parking underneath and connects directly to a student path on a hill on the other side. The inner structure is rotated compared with the facade. This gives a direction to the spaces that point straight into the campus. Patios and holes light the entire institute. 

Atelier March Collomb

Sir Alfred's stairs


The client of the house is Commodore Gill, the protagonist of Stage Fright, a 1950 movie by Alfred Hitchcock. A house in the middle of a park is like an island in the middle of the sea. The Commodore deserves his serenity. A discreet concrete basement hides the real house that can be confused with the little pitched roof house made out of timber on the top of the basement. A concrete chair, copy of the famouse LC-2 armchair by Le Corbusier, facing a small pond, is his window to the world.


Atelier Mario Botta / Roberto Briccola

on the dam

The project is placed on the top of Lucendro’s dam, a huge concrete dam on the Gotthard Pass built in 1947. Goal of the semester is to realise a temporary showroom to house the AlpTransit exposition. The light steel and wood pavillion is attached to the side of the dam. Entering from the top, the visitors will concentrate his experience on the rough concrete surface of the structure, having already seen the landscape, whilst approaching the dam. The building is a box that encloses a series of balconies. The works are exposed directly on the side of the dam face.