The beautiful La Tour Moinat, in picturesque Echandens, Switzerland is a 16th Century tower that has been converted to a modern residence, thanks to Lausanne based 2b Architectes. Essentially, a three floor larch wood living quarters, which 2b jokingly refers to as a “parasite”, has been constructed and inserted into the historic tower. Spanning the entire tower, the sustainable vessel includes living space, shelving, storage, partitions and doorways.
Originally a granary for the Château d’Echandens, the tower was converted to a residence in the early 20th century. Noticing that the residence was a gross misuse of space, 2b conceptualized the interior as a piece of furniture, to be compartmentalized, and dropped into the tower shell. 2b added additional living space where the attic once held court, expanding the residence to a full three floors by dropping its floor to add even more space.
2b used sustainable and inexpensive 3 ply larch wood panels to construct the new innards, and the contrast coalesces nicely with the original white stone walls. The larch wood is left mostly natural and only lightly finished, creating an open and rustic feel throughout the historic building.
The natural wood of the new interior could be freestanding in its own right, but joining with the outer tower shell, it creates a unique residence which meshes modern sustainability with a structure from a time when even a simple granary was regal in its own right.