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Tiny Concrete Bunker Opens to a 3-Story Home Filled With Light

If you saw this squat, rough-hewn tiny concrete hut as you passed by on the highway, you’d probably think it was a neglected storage shed, or maybe the mountain lair of an aescetic hermit. With its rusty metal door and 20-foot-wide façade, there’s not much else it could be.

But open the door, and you’d find yourself in a bright, charming foyer, followed by three stories of minimalist design, brilliantly manipulated light and a central atrium worthy of ancient Roman architecture. What appears to be a single-level concrete cube is actually an expansive home that incorporates a lush valley setting into modern interiors with gracious ease.

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Constructed in 2015 by Wespi de Meuron Romeo Architects, the home takes advantage of its steep site in Caviano, Switzerland, overlooking Lake Maggiore. Its slim, tall silhouette extends down the hillside instead of up into the sky, allowing its occupants to enjoy the greenery below the level of the main road.

The home utilizes several types of concrete, as well as glass, wood, metal and rough stone, for its interiors. Dozens of carefully placed windows and skylights transform shafts of daylight into striking design features, while a garden atrium keeps the building’s dark finishes from feeling claustrophobic. [Photography by Hannes Henz]

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