Ever pass by a dilapidated building and think: with some new windows, a roof and some refinishing, this would be a wonderful little home? In this case, a seemingly hopeless little structure became the basis for a beautiful mountain home-away-from-home. This renovated Swiss Alps chalet may have started out pretty rough, but in the end, the views were worth all the hard work to transform it.
Personeni Raffaele Schärer Architectes had to do more than just add a ceiling and fill in window openings, though, going so far as to frame a basements from reinforced concrete and stabilize the old log-cabin walls above via framed supports within.
Inside, the effect is simple – sanded-concrete floors, white walls and staircase, and bleached wood trim feature little additive decor – the scenic vista surrounding this vacation home are all the view one could hope for.
On the outside, a traditional appearance is maintained through the use of local materials. Unobtrusive solar energy supplies the dwelling’s modest power needs.
Wild-growing grass is left uncut, and no landscaping interferes with the natural order of the hillside, making it still look as if this might just still be a relic from another age, abandoned or inhabited by a long-standing mountain dweller.
“The chalet, is located in the Swiss Alps, in the Herens district, at an altitude of 1850 m. It was used as a shelter for livestock before its transformation into a holiday residence. Very popular in Switzerland, these types of transformations reveal several simultaneous realities. It is a well established fact that the collective status of these shelters often prevails over the individual quality of the object. On the other hand the modern use of the mountain cottage involving weekly round-trips, highlights the improbable all-terrain vehicle in the city and the inevitable garage and retaining wall in front of the mountain chalet. The mountain is not as natural and wild as it used to be in the same manner that cities are not urban enough.”
“The project embraces these different realities in the most surreal manner. On the Inside, the overwhelming view is the only piece of decoration. The picturesque is left behind to make place for a simple, dry and heated shelter. The floor is made out of sanded concrete acquired locally, and the main energy sources are fire for heating and cooking and solar panels for a sufficient amount of electricity. On the outside, the grass grows wildly around the chalet, fences and traditional garden elements are completely missing and blinds are shut during the occupant’s absence. It is hard to find any sign of contemporary life around the place.”