Verscio, Ticino, Switzerland; 1962
(photography by Marcelo Villada; Leo Torri)
The missed encounter of two artists: the workshop house of Léo Maillet
Having survived Pétain’s concentration camps, the weakened Léo Maillet dreams of a family house in which to paint, print, invite musicians, show films, while living with his wife and two small children. The other protagonist, an architect in his 30s’, a robust and adventurous traveller, conceives an experimental structure whose complexity derives from its plastic configuration. The design is finalised in August 1962. The house/workshop in Verscio offers Dolf Schnebli a daring review of the two Jaoul houses by Le Corbusier in Neuilly (1954-1956) from which arise two patterns: the barrel vault, the mixed brick and concrete walls. In Neuilly, the vaults are full and spread longitudinally through the house. In Verscio, the vaults are tranversal and house at their summit a circular skylight. How come this inversion? The construction method. In Neuilly, the principle of the Catalan vault creates a continuous brick arch that operates as the concrete’s framework. In Verscio, the 296cm span arch is built using a wooden frame. To enliven the crude materiality of the construction method, to sculpt the light with the play of the structure, to establish a sharp contrast between concrete and brick, these elements blend into a powerful work, tempered by subtle decisions.
via “Archi : rivista svizzera di architettura, ingegneria e urbanistica” (2010)