Studio di Architettura Marco Castelletti - Casa del Masso

Studio di Architettura Marco Castelletti

Casa del Masso

Razionalismo Comasco - A near vertical site in Como, with stunning views, let Marco Castelletti nod to local Italian architecture of the thirties, whilst bringing his clients a modernist house, proportioned and segmented with precision.


"At the end of 2002 the clients approached us to design the house.
They wanted to build this new house next to their one, in the garden facing the lake, and they were after something typically razionalismo comasco, architecture of the thirties driven by architect Giuseppe Terragni. So they chose the project that best met their expectations, ours. The project's main idea gave the name to the building: casa del masso." Marco Castelletti.
The house, set on a steep slope above the street, can be clearly seen across the lake.
The building stands by the side of the client's old house designed by engineer Luciano Trolli in 1955, and it takes advantage of a little tract of flat land, as does the original residence.
The house is linked to the street by a long flight of steps which wind along the slope and down to the house, which is organised over two floors.

The composition is based on the intersection of two volumes:
The first - facing the lake, is an horizontal structure supported by pilotis houseing all the living and bedrooms.
The second - is vertical holding the staicase and the services rooms.

On the first floor the living room crosses the house and is directly connected with the slope behind. Here the presence of a erratic boulder, in italian language "masso" (here is where the name of the house comes), protrudes into the dwelling as the characterising element of the space, so that it seems that the house is anchored to the slope at this point.
The boulder can be seen through the glass floor of the living room.

From the parking area you reach the main entrance via a flight of steps or an elevator running on the side of the garden.
After reaching the main entrance a footpath covered by a overhanging volume introduces a little hall where you can see the landscape and the monuments of the city.
From here, a large staircase takes you to an atrium with the large glass window which frames the erratic boulder. The internal layout of the main dwelling faces the kitchen, the living room and some other rooms towards the lake, while bathrooms, services and the laundry are put towards the slope.

The materials used to build the house enhance the volumetric composition and the difference between the horizontal volume, suspended and completely covered by white marble dust plaster, and the vertical covered with a natural stone called Iragna, laid down in horizontal layers with different length and thickness.

The same stone was used for the external pavements, the main entrance staircase and the terrace floor on the highest level.

The large windows are divided in sliding parts with electrical rolling shutters made of aluminium.

Solar exposure is optimised wit hteh building orientated with its largest windows and rooms to the south, and services and bathrooms facing north.

ResultsThe clients were really satisfied of the project and followed all the phases of the building that, because of the particular nature of the steep land, involved many challenges.
The crane to build the house was placed on the slope with an helicopter used to transport heavy weights. None the less, the house was completed in seventeen months, from May 2003 to December 2004, as stipulated.


Architect Marco Castelletti Architetto
Short Biography
Marco Castelletti, born in 1958, graduaded from the Facolty of Architecture in Genova on 1983.
In 1994, 1999, 2001, 2003 and 2005 was awarded the architecture’ s award “Magistri Comacini” for works carried out in Provincia of Como and in 2004 the international award AR+D for emerging architecture in London.
In the spring of 2005 he was invited to give a lecture at the Royal Institute of British Architects in London.
He won many competitions for urban renewals in north Italy, as the upgrading of the Trieste waterfront, and from 1998 he has been invited to international competitions.

Project location Como Italy
Client private owners
Architectural design by Studio di Architettura Marco Castelletti
Interior design by Studio di Architettura Marco Castelletti
Landscape design by Studio di Architettura Marco Castelletti
Structural design by Ingeneer. Vittorio Montanini
HVAC design by Ingeneer. Vittorio Montanini
Lighting design by. Zumtobel
Main Contractor Impresa Biacchi s.a.s. – Plesio (Co)
Landscape contractor Impresa Biacchi s.a.s. – Plesio (Co)
Site Area 3000 sq/mt
Built up area 200 sq/mt
Budget 750.000,00 euro
Cost per sq. metre 1.800,00 euro
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via: Studio di Architettura Marco Castelletti