A “coffer” mountain home

A Ticino cowhouse outside, an original and comfortable holiday house inside

Cherishing a place on account of the emotions and visions it arouses is the spark that makes possible the impossible. In this instance, the ‘impossible’ is making an old cowhouse in Ticino’s Valle Bedretto inhabitable by modifying the indoors while maintaining the outer structure as faithful to its original aspect as feasible – in other words, a holiday home that’s as pleasant as it is comfortable. One may ask: how can a home be fitted inside a cowhouse? That is a legitimate question, especially when one thinks of the function of mountain cowhouses over the centuries, utilized exclusively (with all ensuing aspects) as a sheds for animals. We have asked Barbara Disch, atelier ribo+’s person in charge of the Villa Bedretto project.

“For this project, we must imagine an inhabitable space within a sort of hide represented by the cowhouse, with its original beams. It’s a complex and thoroughly reasoned out endeavor which specifically begins with the cleaning up of the walls and floor, given their previous functions, and this is followed by an in-depth study towards the creation of new, harmonious living spaces in which light enters in sufficient quantity through the original outer-structure beams”. In other words, we’re talking about a knowing enterprise of evaluation of what’s already there, which remains a cowshed on the outside, with in-view wooden beams and stone parts, while the interior houses comfortable new areas over three levels – basement, ground floor and first floor – just so illuminated by natural light coming from the glass elements and the skylights.

On account of its location, Villa Bedretto has called for specific technical expedients where the concrete reinforcement of the walls is concerned (against possible avalanches) as well as specific expedients against seepage caused by melting snow. Here we have a special project that’s environment-friendly and which will make it possible for its holiday inhabitants to enjoy countless moments of leisure and relaxation while also enjoying the re-evaluated original outer structure remodeled in our, atelier ribo+’s, special way and, most important of all, in complete harmony with the rural context.