personeni raffaele schärer architects: shelter in the swiss alps
original content
jul 17, 2011
personeni raffaele schärer architects: shelter in the swiss alps


‘shelter in the swiss alps’ by personeni raffaele schärer architectes,  val d’herens, valais, switzerland
image © tonatiuh ambrosetti

located in the swiss alps, in the herens district, at an altitude of 1850 meters is ‘shelter in the swiss alps’,
by lausanne-based practice personeni raffaele schärer architectes. the vacation home, which was previously
used as a shelter for livestock, was recently restored and retrofitted to accommodate the needs of the young
family now occupying it. 


the fireplace provides heating for the cabin

image © tonatiuh ambrosetti

very popular in switzerland, the transformation reveals several simultaneous realities of preservation and
modernization. derived from the desire to retain the individual characteristics of the building, the design features
an outward appearance virtually devoid of any contemporary life. the new roof and foundation are reminiscent
of traditional swiss aesthetics, camouflaging the updated components with the original ones.  


living room and dining room
image © personeni raffaele schärer architectes

on the inside, the unsurpassed view is the only piece of decoration. an expansive window flanks the

mountain-facing facade, directly linking the cabin to the alps. the rest of the home is left bare and neutral,

the white walls and sanded concrete floor secondary to the framed scene.


cantilevered stairs
image © tonatiuh ambrosetti

solar panels provide a sufficient amount of electricity to the unit, which is heated through a fireplace in the living room.

wooden shutters – cut from the existing logs – replace traditional window coverings, and enclose the unit during the

occupant’s absence.


wood shutters close over windows on the second floor

image © tonatiuh ambrosetti


storage on second floor

image © tonatiuh ambrosetti


the original wood beams sit on top of a new stone-clad foundation

image © tonatiuh ambrosetti


in context
image © personeni raffaele schärer architectes


original structure
image © personeni raffaele schärer architectes


the beams were salvaged and reapplied in the exact same way on top of the new foundation
image © personeni raffaele schärer architectes


new foundation
image © personeni raffaele schärer architectes


construction on the inside of the house
image © personeni raffaele schärer architectes


rebuilding the roof
image © personeni raffaele schärer architectes


site plan
image courtesy personeni raffaele schärer architectes


floor plan / level 0
image courtesy personeni raffaele schärer architectes


floor plan / level 1
image courtesy personeni raffaele schärer architectes


section
image courtesy personeni raffaele schärer architectes


section
image courtesy personeni raffaele schärer architectes

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