best architects 19
single family homes
Grimisuat / Switzerland
In the 18th century, a new relationship came about between human society and the environment. The Romantic spirit looked to the mountains to find the sublime, an idea that Jean-François Lyotard defined in his 1984 work The Sublime and the Avant-Garde as «that contradictory feeling – pleasure and pain, joy and anxiety, exaltation and depression». These words resonate in one’s experience of the site chosen for this family home. The beauty of the view is breath-taking, and the building’s orientation is perfect. Yet its surroundings are marked by the sprawl of buildings typical of many neighbourhoods developing in communities like Grimisuat, close to the well-conserved natural landscapes found at ever-higher altitudes as well as to the built infrastructure of the Rhône valley.
The use of timber throughout serves to express subtle transitions between scales, contrasting the large versus the small, the landscaping surrounding the building versus the monumentality of the Alps. From afar, the house looks old and vernacular, governed by the constraints of an architecture formed and refined by the harshness of mountain life. On the approach, however, the motif of the cladding becomes visible, revealing a building that combines the power of inherited traditions with a project aimed at meeting higher needs. This is achieved through the creation of a living environment that does justice to an exceptional situation.