Breathtaking views of the surrounding mountain ranges and valleys, and dramatically steep hills characterise the site located in Feldis (Switzerland), 1500 metres above sea level. The subtle manipulation of a simple timber structure nestled along the contour lines of the hill, anchors it solidly in its rocky surrounding in a manner akin to a solitary rock outcrop displaced after a rock fall.
The seemingly monolithic holiday home appears once narrow and light, then wide and heavy, assuming a different aspect depending on the perspective from which it is viewed. Opening and closing the generously proportioned venetian blinds directly effects the external expression of the house. The simple internal organisation can be interpreted in two ways. Firstly, the planning allows each room to serve the other, in an open hierarchy where both the kitchen and the storage units therein become part of this continuum. The second interpretation is an open, living unit on three levels, a space that flows uninterrupted from the entrance over the cascade of steps to the living areas. A negative space, directly behind the outer layer of the skin, wedged as it were between, under and over the more intimate sleeping quarters structures the dynamic and the static spatial zones of the living sculpture.
The elegant tuning and stretching of the structure allows the rooms internally to take full advantage of the spectacular alpine panorama.
These rooms, varying in size, and geometry are designed to maximise spatial experience, each window framing a precise picture of the surrounding landscape. The occupants actively change the building’s external expression through the opening and shutting of the generously
proportioned window shutters.
The environmental demands particular to the site, and the building process both determined the choice of timber as building material The choice of timber framing guaranteed the desired flexibility in planning and construction, whilst structurally, the characteristics of timber
framing are complemented by the advantages of massive construction.
The need for a simple, sporadically occupied holiday home meant the acoustic insulation could be minimised. Considerable reductions in the thicknesses of internal cladding materials not only simplified the construction but also led to considerable spatial gains internally.
The cantilevered roof above the terrace consciously stretches the construction system to its limit, the former being made possible by the full integration of the glazing element into the construction.
The desired effect of a simple holiday home characterised by spatial variability is further strengthened by the rawness of the timber cladding. Leaving the construction unclad, lends the interior its archaic direct character, that can be more specifically expressed in the choice
of furnishing. Time should be able to leave its mark on the building. The continuous transformation due to the process of natural weathering is registered both inside on the venetian blinds, and outside on the exterior skin, and the steel plates deployed instead of the traditional concrete retaining wall. The eventual transformation of the building through time reflects a natural process aiding as it does the full integration of the house into its natural surrounding.
Figures SIA 416 (1993) SN 504 416
site area GSF 1230 m2
area available for building GSF 452 m2
coverage GGF 87 m2
surrounding area UF 1143 m2
transformed surrounding area BUF 43 m2
total floor area bgf 222 m2
utilization factor (bgf/GSF) az 0.49
volume SIA 116 840 m3
net volume SIA 416 GV ca. 740 m3
floor area GF ground floor 61 m2
1st floor 87 m2
2nd floor 74 m2 total exterior floor surface AGF 14 m2
net floor area NF living room 43 m2
kitchen 11 m2
bedrooms 48 m2
bath/toilets 8 m2
entrance 8 m2
storage 8 m2
garage 28 m2