In the centrally located town of Lancy in Geneva, Switzerland, a compact and experimental timber home bucks the local archetype for concrete-based housing in favor of a more eco-friendly alternative. Swiss architect Leopold Banchini collaborated with engineer Marc Walgenwitz to design the light-filled abode — dubbed the Casa CCFF — using a prefabrication system that minimizes construction costs as well as waste. The small urban home was built for energy efficiency and assembled in just a few days by local carpenters.

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black home with circular window

Built overlooking Geneva’s industrial train station, Casa CCFF references its surrounding industrial environment with a sawtooth shed roof that floods the interior with natural light. Connections to nature, however, dominate the majority of the design, which boasts two interior gardens on the upper level and carefully framed views of the landscape for indoor-outdoor living. The primary living spaces are located on the open-plan upper floor while the ground level features a much smaller built footprint and is mainly used as a covered outdoor space for living and parking.

On the left, home surrounded by greenery. On the right, an empty white room.

On the left, mesh wall. On the right, corner of a glass-walled room.

The prefabricated home can be understood as a series of square modules laid out in a square four-by-four module plan. The compact ground floor, for instance, is made up of three modules: a single outdoor living space and a double-width interior space that connects to the upper floor via a spiral staircase. Upstairs, an open-plan layout with a kitchen, living room and dining area takes up roughly three-quarters of the area while the remaining space is dedicated to the two interior gardens, bedroom and bathroom.

Related: Yves Béhar designs compact, prefab homes to tackle the housing crisis

On the left, a glass room. On the right, a wood bench beside glass walls.

On the left, kitchen island with marble countertops. On the right, spacious room with glass walls.

Casa CCFF is a domestic factory floating above an untouched garden. The house is built almost entirely in wood, pushing the structural capacities of this natural and sustainable material to its limits. The use of wood for the home also helps reduce the use of concrete to a bare minimum. By incorporating high insulation values and maximizing solar gain, a small heat pump allows the modern home to avoid the use of fossil fuels.

+ Leopold Banchini

Images by Dylan Perrenoud