Forest House

Como Lake


Built for a couple planning to start a family, this home was meant to establish a foothold in a forested landscape that was to be a vital part of their lives moving forward. Our clients wanted a home that had a strong relationship with Parco Valle del Lanza, with which they were to share a border.


Nestled between the Lake of Como and the Swiss border in northern Lombardy, the property is long and narrow, entrenched between a provincial road and a park. It is also steeply sloped and there were regulatory requirements regarding minimum distances from both the road and park.


We took a volumetric approach and composed a structure that used intersecting alignments between floors (with cantilevered elements) to maximize square footage, using the patio as the fulcrum. This created a soft threshold space for transitioning between interior and exterior, with the whole home taking advantage of the property’s topography. Skylights, picture windows, and the strategy of surrounding interior rooms with outdoor elements create introspective and private spaces that are enveloped by nature.

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Home Office (Tele-Work)

Green Roof types


“Good architecture lets nature in.”

– Mario Pei

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Architectural philosophy:

A reinforced concrete wall that runs severely along the provincial road trying to contain volumes of wood that seem to want to escape.

On the opposite side wide openings frame the woods of the Lanza Valley Park and a façade covered with red cedar slats blends with the colours of the fields and trees. All contained by the profile of the reinforced concrete structure which, while maintaining its continuity in the roof frame of the building, “embraces” the wood-clad volumes, thus creating on all fronts a continuous “struggle” between the natural wooden element and the artificial concrete one.

Volumetrically, the building is made up of a main element that follows the alignment of the street and a secondary volume that intersects the first, but undergoes a rotation that characterizes the entire internal distribution of the house. The intersection of the two volumes creates the deep internal perspective of the staircase. The focal point of the rotation of the volumes is located in the “patio”, the “threshold” space where the passage between the interior and exterior of the building takes place.

The building takes advantage of the natural difference in height of the ground, from the external suspended walkway, crossing the patio, you reach the entrance, characterized by a walkway on which the staircase and a skylight on the roof that runs the entire length of the building, enhancing, through the use of light, the spatiality and height. There are therefore the kitchen and dining area. The studio is independent from the residence and accessible only from the outdoor patio.

Downstairs are the double height living room, sleeping area and garage. The roof adopts a high energy saving technology with rain storage tanks, high water retention soil and intensive vegetation. Rainwater is collected in a cistern and reused.

The openings on the south and north side, positioned at different heights, allow a very efficient natural summer ventilation, taking advantage of temperature differences. Retractable sunshade systems are used to shield the windows externally during the summer period.