Through an architectural competition, Apropos Architects were selected by a Swiss family wanting to reconstruct a family home. The family was inspired by the potential to create a larger, energy-efficient residence with five apartments. The construction was both shaped by and designed for the stunning alpine setting.
The remarkable building looks out on fertile lowland location within the Swiss canton of Sargans set against the steep alpine peaks. The rooms are orientated to take advantage of the varied views. The design of the house is cut just as a carved stone, with different surfaces of the facades defined in unique plaster surfaces that emphasize the play of light and shadow.
Found in the local mountains, Verrucano-Schiefer stone has pinkish tone, which influences the choice materials of the façade and interior spaces. The cement plaster façade with the stone allows the color of the house to change to suit the daylight conditions from mellow grey at dawn to pink-tinted at sunset.
It was designed to respect sustainability and ecology, with plenty of natural light filling all the living spaces. As soon as you enter each apartment, a view of the surrounding landscape opens up. The main living room link all the other spaces to maximize the usable floor space.
Apropos specified several measures to meet the Swiss ecological standard “Minergie,” including external insulation, wood-aluminum windows and a ground source heat pump. The pump is the main energy source and is powered, when possible, by solar energy. Gains from this energy source are used in the building or sold back to the public network. Fresh air is supplied from the roof level and is distributed to individual apartments via a heat exchanger in vertical shafts.
In summer, outdoor screen shades protect against overheating. Installation boxes for exterior shading are hidden in thermally-insulated facades and plastered.
To make it earthquake-safe, the construction includes: supportive pillars into the bearing layer of the subsoil to a depth of 16 to 20 meters, waterproof concrete for the lower sections and vertical load-bearing structures and ceilings from monolithic reinforced concrete.
As the previous residents and owner have, they open up their own living space to share with others. The tenants of the house were chosen directly by them, in some cases old friends or relatives. Due to the new and old relationships, the house functions as one large organism. Despite having plenty of private space, residents often like to meet, talk or hold events in the shared garden.
The common areas feature durable and valuable materials such as black steel, exposed concrete and terrazzo flooring. Finishes are kept intentionally raw. The materialization reflects the investor’s family traditions together with the context of the local metal industry.
Each apartment is sensitively connected to nature via access to a garden or a private terrace. A terrace all around its perimeter and a whirlpool bath on the roof afford the lucky dwellers breathtaking views of all surrounding mountain peaks.
Photography by Alex Shoots Buildings