location: Lugano, Switzerland
built-up area: 1971 sqm
date: 2011 – 2014

design architect: Mino Caggiula
project architect: Mino Caggiula
executive architect: Giacomo Bronzini
team: Alberto Bernasconi, Francesco Magni

The project design came to life through the comparison with a building dating back to the early 1900s, not subjected to constraints, and brought us to approach this architectural and cultural heritage with the principle of not imitating the previous building, since it would be a copy and therefore a fake, but rather formally representing the passing of time.

The architectural intervention, with the metaphor of the hermit crab (“paguro” in Italian, hence the name of the residence), whose natural growth forces it to change, provides the building with a new shell for this moment of growth. The shell’s strategic position optimises the orientation of the windows towards South and shields the pre-existing structure from one of the most congested streets in West Lugano, opening towards a residential and calm area. The pre-existing building is cut in half and externally connected to the new volume through a straight line, perfectly aligned with the North – South axis, representing a meeting point between past and present; while on the inside this passage is more fluid, with an interesting planimetric exchange between existence and innovation.