A Concrete Double Villa in Switzerland

A Concrete Double Villa in Switzerland

By Robert Landon
A glass-and-concrete mountainside lair is fit for a Bond villain with a penchant for stunning Alpine views.

Less of a rival than an homage to the Swiss Alps, Basel-based architect Silvia Gmür’s concrete villa on Lake Maggiore is a remarkable platform from which to marvel at sublime, peaked vistas. Mies van der Rohe’s iconic Farnsworth House is clearly in the DNA of her weekend getaway, but she disrupts the purity of the glass-box formula even as she preserves its sense of mathematical precision. Gmür’s version has two floors, each a separate home, each slashed in half creating a large terrace, and each punctuated by an unlikely pair of pyramids, one of which is made to stand on its head. It’s a gravity-defying joke on the cantilevered engineering holding all that concrete aloft, with a sly, topsy-turvy reference to the surrounding mountain peaks.           
 

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