A former Swiss arsenal constructed during WWII finds new life as a modern, efficient mountain home high up in the Alps. Located close to the French border, Arsenal B47 sits on top of an original bunker and boasts amazing views of the mountains. Ralph Germann Architects is responsible for this beautiful renovation, which retained the original structure and history. To make it energy-efficient, he built a glass cube inside of the wood structure and inserted windows to maximize daylight.
Rather than destroy the arsenal to make way for a new home, Ralph Germann proposed to keep the structure and renovate it. To ensure a high level of efficiency while retaining the building’s original character, Germann inserted a glass cube inside. This box-in-a-box technique improves the home’s thermal performance of the home by creating a double wall to shield the interior from the elements. Operable shutters and windows can be opened or closed to create a greater connection with the outdoors or provide more ventilation. In addition, the home makes use of solar panels, a heat pump, and a steel fireplace with heat recovery.
The original walkway around the structure was retained and a new walkway inside – between the glass and the wood envelope – was created during the renovation. An old sign reading “charge maximum 1500 kg au m2” (maximum load 1500 kg/m2) remains on the wall to remind residents and visitors of the building’s original purpose. Carefully placed windows allow daylight to enter the home and a bright gray ceiling further bounces light inside the compact 49 sq m space (527 sq ft).
Materials like glass, local Larch wood and steel were chosen to keep the interior natural and in harmony with the original structure. Decor and furnishings though are quite modern with crisp, clean lines and bright, punchy colors like fuchsia. Space is maximized through built-in cabinets and furniture, including a Murphy bed that folds up into the center wall to make more space.
Via Design Milk
Images © Lionel Henriod/mc2