Project DescriptionFROM THE ARCHITECTS:
A Dutch client—an entrepreneur, hobby pianist, and racing driver—was not entirely satisfied with the cluttered layout of the chalet design that was included in purchasing the building plot, and asked our advice on adjustments.
SeARCH proposed to start from scratch and tailored the program to be more compact and site-specific (the steep hillside). The ‘traditional’ chalet, originating from ‘chahtelèt’ (shepherd’s hut), consists of a solid wooden house with shutters and gable roof, resting on a stone foundation. In the Swiss Alps, the chalet has gradually become a ‘multi-gabled’ pastiche as luxury ski-chalet, or grew to mega proportions with a maximum of apartments for affordable tourism.
The most beautiful, historical examples are still the larger (farm)houses for several families, high up in the Alps, used only in summertime.
Inspired by the impressive ‘Grand Chalet Balthus’ in Rossinière (CH) with large roof overhangs, the 500-square-meter program is designed within one clear volume.
The garage was moved from the back of the house with problematic access to the lower road. Through a hallway and elevator, carved into the mountain, it has a direct connection to all three levels of the house; the guesthouse downstairs, the main living areas in the middle and a private apartment in the attic. All floors give access to three-meter wide terraces, connected by stairs and a phenomenal view over the Dent Blanche Massif with 4000+ peaks of Matterhorn, Dent Blanche, Dufourspitze and Weisshorn.
This description has been lightly edited for clarity.