We have always challenged ourselves by exposing our work to different environments, climates and cultures. This makes our handwriting agile and makes us rethink our own conventions. It nurtures our exposure to different possibilities and evolves our way of thinking and designing.
When Architecture BRIO was first approached to design this home in Switzerland, we were very excited about the prospect of designing a project, once more, in a completely different part of the world. But interestingly as we dived deeper into the project we got more and more intrigued by the similarities to the conditions of, for example, our Himalayan projects.
This family home is located in a small town on the slopes of the beautiful Jura mountain range. The site is characterised by a pronounced slope towards the South, which allows for uninterrupted and breath-taking views of the surrounding mountainous landscape and valleys within. An outline of trees framing the edges of the site act as a natural screen from the neighbouring buildings providing shelter and privacy.
The building regulations prescribed a two story volume on the site in order to achieve a certain density in the village. However we felt that we could do much more justice to the tranquil ambience of the site if the house would appear like a light single floor pavilion. Therefore we designed the house as an irregular volume that cantilevers atop a compact, heavy podium base, which is designed to disappear in the landscape, as if carved out from the existing terrain.
The expression of the architectural proposal strives to celebrate the undulations of the surroundings. One corner of the rectangular plan is snipped off, suggesting a welcoming entrance to the home. On the opposite corner, a diagonal cut opens the plan up to the views of the Alps. Furthermore, the roof folds down along a ridge in this diagonal direction from entrance to view.
The internal layout of the house is a reflection of the natural configuration of the site and the opportunities it offers. As a consequence, the upper floor contains the living areas while the lower floor houses the bedrooms. In this way, the living spaces receive unobstructed panoramic views of the Alps and the village in the foreground. In return, the bedrooms and bathrooms enjoy a private and immersive setting.
As a whole, the project is conceived as a volume carved out of the landscape, and therefore the materials speak of the site itself. The terraces and limited retaining walls are to be hardscaped in local stone and concrete.
The irregular cantilevered volume on top of this robust base, expresses a sense of lightness with its façade wrapped around in vertical fins. The climatic conditions in the winter prescribed a home to be snug and compact with a limited exterior surface. However with the summers becoming increasingly Mediterranean in temperature, a wrap around verandah on the South and Western facade shades the interiors during the hot days of the year.
Switzerland, Family Home, Landscape, View