Gallery: Take a Peek at a Stunning Secret Swiss Villa Hidden Into a Mou...


In a location as picturesque as Vals, Switzerland, it’s difficult to imagine any new construction that wouldn’t impose on the beautiful landscape. So, when the rare opportunity was granted to construct a new dwelling just a stone’s throw away from the famed Vals thermal baths, it was of paramount importance to not disturb the tranquil site. Designed by the architects of SeArch and Christian Müller, this underground house exemplifies the notion that thoughtfully constructed buildings can live in harmony with their surrounding environs.

Situated in the Swiss village of Vals, the house is almost undetectable, nestled right into the mountain as it is. Set below ground, the concrete structure features a wide oval opening that one arrives at via a set of stones steps embedded in the steep incline. At the top of the stairs, a central patio is surrounded by a wide-spanning façade formed of large window openings, which provide luminous reflections of the Alpine vista on the opposite side of the narrow valley.

Bathed in an abundance of natural light, the house is far more glamorous than your typical underground bunker. It includes all of your typical amenities such as a full kitchen, dining area, guest room, and entertainment area, while features like the underground pathways give the residence a touch of military flair. By building the house underground, the architects were able to almost completely eliminate the need for heating or cooling in the winter and summer months.

In Vals, the vast majority of modern architecture proposals are thought to be destructive to the local ambience and are generally not favored. By designing their project to lie beneath the lay of the land, the architects created a beautiful residence that does not encroach upon the adjacent baths or the pristine alpine views.

+ SeArch

+ Christian Müller


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  2. whatever_dude February 12, 2012 at 12:06 am

    @atexasdem: we had similar issues with our off-the-grid SW US home, which required some design compromises. The lending industry had no idea how to deal with us, so we scrimped and paid cash to build, rather than taking out a loan.

    But the big upside is that our house became a bank comp that allowed other off-the-grid wannabes to get financing. There are now some really out-of-the-box homes near us, and I’m thrilled at the part we were able to play in that.

    This Swiss house is beautiful! As for the bare concrete: meh. Why not exploit the unique, plastic character of the material? Very predictable Swiss approach. Not a lot of fantastic art comes out of that country–too regimented, uptight and xenophobic. And I speak as a respectful Swiss descendent and frequent visitor :)

  3. europax October 8, 2011 at 5:22 pm

    the grey interior does not offend me, dressed and complimented as it is by such beautiful fixtures and soft furnishings. I just feel happy they had not felt it necessary to cover it all with expensive obsolete coatings. Congratulations to the designer and owners.

  4. Solar Impulse Plane Pre... September 7, 2010 at 7:34 pm

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  5. Save-world February 9, 2010 at 8:41 am

    hobbit is indeed what springs to mind.
    great effort of reducing the impact of the human dwellings on the landscape. It could also reduce the habitation’s carbon footprint because of lesser need to heat up or cool down, but i’m afraid construction costs will be just horrendous

  6. jjshephe January 4, 2010 at 8:24 am

    i love the dining room table. the concrete looks great! i guess its left exposed to maximise thermal mass

  7. atexasdem December 25, 2009 at 1:51 am

    Building codes at the moment are the biggest issues I find. Houses built into the earth are fantastic. Living on acreage and working hard to live “off grid” can actually be difficult. I ran into code issues when I wanted to split my waste water into Gray and black waste water systems. When I split my fresh water into potable and non potable systems it was a major issue.
    Though a licensed master electrician and contractor I ran into issues with local authorities when I went with solar electrical power.
    My hope is that as homes become “greener” and more environmentely sensitive, building codes will be adjusted to reflect and allow it.

  8. elvis December 18, 2009 at 6:17 pm

    Oh baby- that blue bowl is your wood fired hot tub!


  9. nacoran December 18, 2009 at 1:47 pm

    Too bad they left all that ugly exposed concrete inside.

  10. TH December 18, 2009 at 8:12 am

    What is that great Blue Bowl in the courtyard?

  11. Will47 December 17, 2009 at 4:50 am

    In a hole in the ground there lived a hobbit…

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