Artist Alice Trepp models sculptures with her hands, immortalizing moments in time. Artists work on their subject while architects get people to live inside what they build. The Trepp Atelier was developed for a person but also for a place. Designing an Atelier to mirror the thought and philosophy of an artist has long fascinated generations of artists and the architects charged with the task.
Located near Origlio, a village overlooking the lake of the same name, Alice Trepp’s Studio is both a place of work and a home. Atelier Trepp is built to slot as naturally as possible into the contour lines forming the morphology of the site. Placed mainly underground, it takes its cue from ancient Greek theaters that were molded to fit into the natural morphology of their context.
Wedged into the two highest upward-curving contour lines, the building fits seamlessly into the sinuous lie of the land. The volume takes shape rising like leaves out of the ground to make the architecture appear a natural landscape feature. An iconic touch has been added by pivoting the construction around a ‘cenote’, in acknowledgement of the artist’s Ecuadorian origins. Built around this core, the two stories intersect, creating a dynamic play of transparency and visual permeability. Interior and exterior spaces blend and re-form, constantly interacting with the light and the surrounding countryside. The cenote in Atelier Trepp is a space of contemplation and communion with nature. Reflected, refracted light playing on water is conducive to a multi-sensorial awareness of the passing of time.
The cenote marks out the passing of time as the day proceeds and the light changes, capturing the fleeting moments of the day. The freshness coming off the water, the light breeze that gently sways the sweet-smelling overhanging vegetation, the twittering of birds, and the view of the passing clouds conjure up visions of the artist lying on the gravel of the shallow water immersed in a moment of sensory exploration - the search for the sublime in the everyday, a moment of contemplation for the artist before, during and after the creation of a work of art.
Project: Atelier Alice Trepp
Location: Origlio, Switzerland
Building Area: 454 Sqm
Date: 2016 – 2019
Design Architect: Mino Caggiula
Project Architect: Alberto Bernasconi
Executive Architect: Andrea Maldarizzi
Team: Laura Martinez, Maurizio Civelli
Photography: Paolo Volonté
Client: Alice Trepp