Faceted home in the Swiss Alps by JM Architecture is covered in dark grey tiles


Mottled grey tiles envelop this angular house in the Swiss Alps, which was designed by Milanese firm JM Architecture to look "like a stone in the landscape" (+ slideshow).

Montebar Villa by JMA Architects

The jagged form and colouring of Montebar Villa were devised by Jacopo Mascheroni to help the home settle into its mountainous terrain in Medeglia.

Montebar Villa by JMA Architects

The house sits on the edge of a slope above a valley and is surrounded by cattle-grazing pastures and vineyards. Its six-sided roof is angled to match the incline of the mountains and a glass curtain wall on its south side gives views over the valley.

Montebar Villa by JMA Architects

"The project was created around the local building code, which imposes each house to have a dark grey pitched roof for a better integration with the environment," explained Mascheroni.

"Starting from this constraint, the idea developed into an homogeneous solution using the same material for both the roof and facades, in order to provide the building with a monolithic aspect, like a stone in the landscape."

Montebar Villa by JMA Architects

The house is made from prefabricated timber elements chosen to help insulate it from the region's cold winters. Over 20 centimetres of insulation within the walls and roof is coupled with underfloor heating help to further fend off the weather.

Montebar Villa by JMA Architects

The whole structure is clad in rows of grey porcelain stoneware tiles to create a "pure and simple form". The edges of the tiles are cut at an angle to allow them to slot together and create a flush surface.

A strip of light around the base of the house differentiates is from the patch of grey gravel it sits on.

Montebar Villa by JMA Architects

EXE Studio also combined tile and shingle cladding for a mountain dwelling in western Serbia, which references both the region's traditional and contemporary styles.

Montebar Villa by JMA Architects

"Every face of the shell has been designed tile by tile, with a dynamic pattern composed with three different formats, and many tiles have mitred edges," said Mascheroni.

Montebar Villa by JMA Architects

Folding shutters are covered in the same material, which align with the facade pattern when closed to create a uniform appearance.

Montebar Villa by JMA Architects

Rooms within the irregular hexagonal plan are primarily arranged over one floor, but two children's bedrooms have mezzanines in the roof space.

Montebar Villa by JMA Architects

Like the gently angled walls, the roof is pitched to minimise its impact on the terrain, with its tallest point towards the back of the site and its lowest towards the slope.

Montebar Villa by JMA Architects

"The six-sided roof is offset toward the mountain and it's calibrated to have the largest side with the same mountain inclination, for a better integration with the landscape," said Mascheroni.

Montebar Villa by JMA Architects

A loggia set into the glazed living and large triple-glazed windows help to ventilate the property during warmer months.

Photography is by Jacopo Mascheroni.

Project credits:

Architecture: JM Architects
Principal: Jacopo Mascheroni
Project manager: Diego Magrì
Structural engineer: Messi & Associati
MEP engineer: Alternativa Energetica
Prefabricated structure: Rihter
Cladding: Geos Italy
Curtain wall and windows: Casma Involucri Edilizi
Waterproofing: Acqua Risolta
Lighting: Oty Light
Plumbing: Acqua Design

Montebar Villa by JMA Architects
Site plan – click for larger image
Montebar Villa by JMA Architects
Ground floor plan – click for larger image
Montebar Villa by JMA Architects
First floor plan – click for larger image
  • bobyman

    Needs a bit of landscaping, no?

  • SteveLeo

    Incredibly crisp slate details. Although those mezzanine bedrooms would be quite dark, with light only from the thin ground-floor windows.

  • spadestick

    The exterior is crisp. Interior is lacklustre.

  • samcooke6

    I’d love to see a detail through the roof/wall junction.

  • Corin

    JM architects or JM architecture? I think they’re quite different.


    • Eek! Thanks for pointing this out. We’ve corrected the story accordingly.

  • Durgen Jensen

    It’s like when you are doing a rendering in 3ds Max but your building needs to be moved a tiny bit lower on the Z access so the interior lighting doesn’t sneak out the bottom.

  • Guest

    Makes you wonder why we’ve ever bothered with gutters.

  • Concerned Citizen

    I kept looking for the jagged form. Where is it?

  • brooklyndesigner

    I’m so in love with this house but I wish there were more shots of the interior because what we do see other than the lighting is boring. To me, anyway.

  • david

    Beautiful workmanship and detailing. I wish they didn’t shape the lawn so inorganically.


    What’s the roof material? How does the roof engage the wall? What’s the edge detail where both come together? Interior rates a yawn! Not fit for humans.

  • jalves

    I would like to see a section of the building with the details. The project looks really nice.

  • Melon

    The more I look at it, the more I like it.