The client imposed a free brief right at the start of the design which evolved over a long period. The house represents a hybrid typology of a small residential retreat and a guest house with facilities for local skiing and nature hiking. The form and scale of the house are largely defined by topography and the orientation towards views of landscape and towards sunlight. The prevailing western winds are tackled with a narrow gable end to minimise their impact.
A low budget and harsh local climate have determined a simple method of construction which has been buildable in two short building seasons. The external walls are made of 500mm thick superinsulated prefabricated clay blocks, which are also used for the main loadbearing wall. A sense of a cave like protection against climate is supported by the journey from entrance lobby to the upper living space which winds itself twice through this thick internal wall. The floor to ceiling height differs in hierarchy with the staircase zone being of minimal height and the living space being increased to 3m, which strengthens the effect of the landscape entering the building interior through large glazed openings.
The materials used are of high standard and are left in their natural appearance without further treatment – hand applied stucco renderings, masive wood, exposed concrete ceilings and floors and aluminium windows. The heating is built within the floors with additional option of wood burning stove in the living space. The client was in charge of organizing the construction herself with the final costs added to a complete sum of 100.000 EUR inclusive of the plot, internal fittings and furniture.