From Primordial Stone to Industrial Iron: Architecture in Evolution by Federico Delrosso

The renovation and extension of a detached villa in Mendrisio, Switzerland, by Federico Delrosso. Have a look at this stone-meets-iron design project. 


Stone and Iron in Villa Design 

Federico Delrosso included several characterizing features in his renovation and extension of this detached villa, in support of an architectural narrative from an evolutionary point of view. While the splayed wall, made from Trani stone ashlars, appears to be the most primordial aspect of the architecture, on the opposite side an “iron exoskeleton” has been used to create balconies, galleries, and porticos opening out onto the garden, representing the relatively younger industrial aspect of architecture.

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Metal Framework – the Visual Element That Pulls Together the Whole Façade

“The metal framework”, explains Federico Delrosso, “is the visual element that pulls together the whole façade, from the garden to the second floor, blending its structural, functional, and protective roles. The splayed Trani stone walls, on the other hand, recall the existence of a previous wall, triggering a new game of force between real and imaginary structures. Moreover, the renovation work included the vertical and horizontal addition of new sections. The result is a rather different building from the original one built in the 1980s. For this reason, I thought it was necessary to not only give the spaces a new identity but also show the evolutionary nature of the structure”.

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Inside the villa, the use of materials gives an example of how architecture is an interpretative rather than conclusive process. In keeping with this, floor-to-ceiling sliding doors made from slats of Zebrano wood connect the rooms in the garden entrance, while forming walls with various aesthetic and spatial functions in the fitness area. In the stairwell, on the other hand, transparency is the tool with which Delrosso has addressed the theme of linearity in architecture.

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A view of the landscape is cleverly arranged through multiple parallel openings in the external wall, while a splitting line formed by the glass banister of the staircase introduces an element of surprise. This line is enhanced by the edges, reflections, and transparency of the glass sheets, and offers an iridescent view from all angles.

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Details of the Design Project

project: Federico Delrosso Architects
year: 2004/2007
location: Mendrisio (CH)
surface area: 2000 sqm area / 700sqm house
furniture: su disegno Gardiman
ironwork: Fortin
lights: Davide Groppi

photo credits: Luca De Santis



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By Danica Maričić

Interior Designer and Integrated Marketing Communications Pro, Loving Writing and Photography, Passionate about Life & Style, “True Blue” Mediterranean Girl, Curious Traveller & Designer