a contemporary addition plugs onto enrico sassi's 'casa rossa' in the swiss alps

a contemporary addition plugs onto enrico sassi's 'casa rossa' in the swiss alps

public space for locals of the swiss mountain town


Architect Enrico Sassi has recently completed the renovation and extension of Casa Rossa, a community-owned building in Lugano, a scenic lakeside mountain town in Switzerland‘s alpine region of Ticino. This multi-use building houses a children’s library on the basement floor along with the ‘Circolo Anziani Pregassona,’ a recreational and social area for senior citizens on the upper floor. The renovation aimed to address the inadequate space and outdated facilities of the senior citizens’ club, especially concerning the kitchen, while paying careful attention to harmonize the minimalistic new concrete volume with the traditional existing building.

enrico sassi casa rossaimages © Marcelo Villada Ortiz



old meets new: the addition by enrico sassi


With the Casa Rossa renovation, architect Enrico Sassi adds a new volume to accommodate kitchen facilities. The architects focused on ensuring a harmonious connection between the new and pre-existing structures. The new concrete volume is juxtaposed with the existing building along the same facade line. At the points where the old and new constructions meet, the facade of the new building slightly recedes, marking the transition between different materials.


The new volume is constructed atop an existing wall that has been preserved and restored. The elongated side of the new building remains slightly raised from the old structure, creating a free space that allows natural light and ventilation for the storage area below.

enrico sassi casa rossa



the new building carefully frames views of the alpine lake


The volume housing the kitchen showcases recycled exposed concrete as its primary material. The elevations are defined by a 50 x 250 centimeter wooden formwork module, which establishes the design and proportions of the structure. The elevation facing the playground lacks openings, while the south-facing elevation features a ribbon window framing the scenic view of Lugano lake. The northern elevation, which serves as the entrance to the kitchen, is protected by a canopy. Surrounding the kitchen, the outdoor space is paved with natural stone, utilizing a combination of grey granite and Cuasso al Monte porphyry in alternating stripes of grey and pink.

enrico sassi casa rossa



beneath the translucent canopy


The entrance canopy structure consists of HEB metal beams covered with transparent corrugated polycarbonate sheets. This design choice ensures that the space underneath remains bright and inviting. The canopy follows the inclination of the existing roof, extending its pitch seamlessly. Anchored on one side to the new concrete volume and on the other to the top of the retained old wall, the canopy successfully integrates both elements into the overall design.

enrico sassi casa rossaa translucent canopy is built of corrugated polycarbonate sheets



The main metal beam of the canopy extends beyond the edge of the wall, showcasing itself as a distinctive feature. To handle rainwater runoff, the eaves channel incorporates a robust V-shaped metal profile that overhangs the roof’s end. The rainwater is directed into a well filled with stones sourced from the Verzasca River, which also adds to the exterior aesthetic of the building.


the closed-off volume opens out to views of the mountains with a ribbon window


Enrico Sassi’s renovation and extension of Casa Rossa in Pregassona-Lugano, Ticino, Switzerland, has revitalized the building, creating improved spaces for the children’s library and the senior citizens’ club. The project not only resolved the issues of inadequate space and outdated facilities but also ensured a seamless integration between the old and new structures.

enrico sassi casa rossa
solid and translucent materials work together in harmony



The design choices, such as the use of recycled exposed concrete, the wooden formwork module, and the incorporation of natural stone, contribute to the overall aesthetic appeal of the building. The entrance canopy, with its transparent polycarbonate sheets, provides a welcoming ambiance while effortlessly merging with the existing roof structure. The completion of Casa Rossa’s renovation and extension stands as a testament to Enrico Sassi’s architectural expertise and commitment to enhancing community spaces.


subtle strips of glazing lend slivers of light and views

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