A brief history
Once upon a time there was a manor farm
Origin of the name – The “Masseria la Barca” project is based on an old “masseria” (manor farm), listed in the SASS guides to Swiss monuments (Society for Art History in Switzerland, Bern, 2008). The presence of a harbour seems to have been documented in Medieval Bioggio several times: a number of plots located in a place referred to as “ad barcham” and later as “ad portum in loco di Bioggio, Vallis Lugano” are mentioned in a document from 1431. This is probably where the name “Barca” comes from.
The building – This farmhouse complex was given its structure during the nineteenth century and incorporates pre-existing architectural parts. Like all rural buildings, it was constructed in various distinct stages. This architectural style arose from the various practical needs of the community that lived and worked there. The manor farm featured an arrangement of rooms that respected the old way of life: living quarters on the first floor and work rooms on the ground floor. Communicating rooms that open onto external galleries, vary high spaces, irregular openings, etc. The building is composed of two wings that create a private space facing south and a “public” space facing north-west, from which the property can now be accessed.
The ground floor was totally dedicated to work spaces, except for a room with a fireplace that served as a kitchen with an oven room at the back. On the first floor were the bedrooms, which featured vaulted ceilings and were arranged along the galleries. The west wing consisted of spaces used as haylofts and maintained in the renovation. The second floor was home to the loft which has been transformed into a beautiful penthouse. The main wall structures of the building, although poor, were well-preserved and were made from stone held together with lime mortar. The secondary walls were made of various kinds of brick. The floor slabs were in places made from brickwork and in others from wood.
The story continues – After changing hands a few times in the 1900s, the manor farm was bought by the current owners in 2006. They fell in love with the stunning building for historic reasons and it was immediately clear that any work on it had to and could only be restoration work to save this unique and historic property. The municipality of Bioggio, where one of the owners originally comes from, viewed this renovation with enthusiasm, given that it meant that a tiny piece of the village’s history would be enhanced rather than razed to the ground. The architect Jean Patrick Jaccard thus divided the spaces with the aim of making the entire structure suitable for future functional use. This task was facilitated by the natural shape of the apartment building, the way it was positioned in the terrain, and the perfect partnership with the property. There are six apartments built into the volume of the entire complex and they have been named after the surrounding hills: Collina d’Oro, San Salvatore, Monte Brè, Sant’Ilario, Ceresio, and Cuccarello.