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Stocker Lee Architetti, Rancate, Office

World of contrasts: Architectural office in Rancate

Having studied at the renowned Academy of Architecture in Mendrisio, Switzerland, Melanie Stocker and Dongjon Lee remained faithful to the region later on, founding their Stocker Lee Architetti practice there in 2005, and in 2019 completing their own atelier house in a residential district of Rancate, a community close to Mendrisio. The new building is set in a peaceful garden plot directly to the east of and slightly below the Eiger Mönch Jungfrau apartment house, designed by Stocker Lee and realised in 2017. Avoiding a direct line of sight to this dominant neighbour became the determining parameter of the atelier design. A circumferential window band just above ground level and a large square window in the northern gable wall provide a view of nature instead.

Spatially the house is organised in three levels, one of which is buried completely in the ground, but structurally it is divided into two very different parts. The sublevel storey, the dropped ceilings, the service core and the lower part of the ground floor, which is partially let into the slope, come in rough in situ concrete coloured black. This discontinues just above ground level, where it folds back into a long sill below the circumferential glazing strip. On the other hand, the entire superstructure complete with roof consists of a timber frame construction painted white on the inside and featuring closely-set posts and roof trusses that lend structure to the interior; outside it is clad in clinker that on closer inspection turns out to consist of overlapping, flat rectangular tiles on the long sides of the house and the roof, and long-drawn bricks at the two opposite ends.

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