2LB House in Thônex, Geneva by Raphaël Nussbaumer Architectes

2LB House in Thônex, Geneva by Raphaël Nussbaumer Architectes

Another example of magnificent modern architecture which luckily managed to make it through Switzerland’s stringent planning regulations, 2LB House was designed by Raphaël Nussbaumer Architectes on the outskirts of Geneva. This residence is located in Thônex to be precise (a green rural suburb) and was built on a sloped site overlooking Salève mountain.

Light filled bathroom of 2LB House with angled roof lights

Rear Elevation of 2LB House with Bunker-Like Balcony

The clients were fans of modern Brazilian architecture and so 2LB bears a number of idiosyncrasies indicative of South American houses — namely a long wall of floor-to-ceiling windows blending the line between indoor and outdoor, and a rough exterior of exposed concrete.

Division between inside and outside through floor-to-ceiling windows

Concrete Outside Spaces of 2LB House with Loop Chairs by Willy Guhl

The irregular yet uniform composition of the volume gives 2LB House an undeniably bunker-like quality, while the angular form of the concrete invokes the crystalline structure of mineral rock. Concrete has also been incorporated in the patio area which is accompanied by the fibre cement Loop Chairs of iconic swiss designer Willy Guhl.

2LB House recessed into its sloping site in Thonex Geneva

Interior design and grid layout of 2LB House by Raphaël Nussbaumer Architectes

The floor plan is essentially laid out in a 3×3 grid over two floors to instill a sense of order in such a seemingly open plan space. This grid revolves around a vast central staircase which encourages light flow from the upper portions of the house.

Central Staircase of 2LB House

A sense of privacy was key in this build and it’s plain to see that conventional windows played a minimal role in 2LB House. Instead strips of angled roof lights are to be found all along the 1st floor’s ‘bevelled’ roof. These windows allow in ample light, while the bulk of the concrete exterior remains undisturbed to maintain a monolithic feel.

Minimal first floor windows in 2LB House

The downstairs is of course lit by the expansive floor-to-ceiling window array and the house is essentially divided between a bold open-plan public space (the ‘glasshouse’), and a more private internal dwelling (the ‘cave’). This distinction makes the most efficient use of the sloping site by insetting the secluded portion of 2LB House within the earth to serve as a windowless retaining wall.

Architect: Raphaël Nussbaumer Architectes
Photography: Lionel Henriod

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