Many of us dream of owning a mountain getaway, but when many people actually build them the pristine mountain environment starts to take on the appearance of suburbia. Bassicarella Architectes had a different idea when they designed this Swiss mountain retreat, which we ran across at designboom. Pavilion D'été à Sierra is about a subtle as it gets - only a couple modest glass walls peer out from the hillside, while the rest of the house melts into the foothills of Sierre, Switzerland.
Call it natural minimalism – the über site-appropriate design is realized in large part through the dry stacked stone walls which tame the landscape and provide a natural façade. The exterior walls add to the existing stone terraces, built up through the decades and centuries.
Two picture windows are inserted into the wall at either end of the small home. One provides the living space with a dramatic view, while the other offers a more intimate connection with the surroundings. Interior walls consist of the raw concrete that the supports the subterranean volume. Since the home is inset into the hillside, it is kept naturally cool and requires much less energy to heat.
The project’s clever layout is set parallel with the landscape – walls angle out of the hillside and then back in again, making the home’s profile virtually indistinguishable from the existing topography. From a distance the ribbon of stone walls is left completely intact; if you didn’t know the house was there you could easily skip right by it while scanning across the hillside. The walkout may be the best part – the backdrop of dry stacked stone walls creates an intimate rapport with the home’s surroundings.
Photographs © Thomas Jantscher