with a minimalist intervention, swiss architecture studio deschenaux follonier celebrates the raw, derelict history of its ‘lù chatarme’ dwelling. the project is nestled along the mountainous swiss landscape outside the village of arolla. the traditional mountain chalet has long sheltered its owner a few months of the year, following a 1,850 meter climb to graze his cows. the design team comments: ‘the project takes root in the dialogue with the farmer, in the customs of the place, in its history. how to keep the specific features of a mountain shelter, while enhancing its hosting potential, its habitability and its comfort?

deschenaux follonier lù chatarme
images by joël tettamanti

 

 

with the transformation of its lù chatarme chalet, the team at deschenaux follonier preserves and exaggerates the rugged, wooden materiality of the interior. a stair is introduced, allowing to occupant to access a first floor above with room to sleep six. this additional level is constructed of heavy timber, a continuation of the original wooden exterior wall — a collage of the old and new. the wood is sourced locally from a small larch forest owned by the family, whose trees had been planted during the construction of the existing structure.

deschenaux follonier lù chatarme

 

 

the rocky topography and imposing boulders of the site inform the transformation of deschenaux follonier’s lù chatarme dwelling. a raw concrete intervention expresses a delicate relationship with the adjacent rock — rather than avoiding or destroy it, the brut wall gently slips past. the plan is guided by the profile of the boulder — the volume rises alongside the rock without touching it, as is revealed in the cross section. the team continues: ‘the concrete is distinct from the rock, yet they share a same mineral nature. their unity is expressed even by the color of the iron oxide of the rock, which is recalled by the wooden window frames.’

deschenaux follonier lù chatarme deschenaux follonier lù chatarme deschenaux follonier lù chatarme deschenaux follonier lù chatarme looming boulders guide the transformation of deschenaux follonier's 'lù chatarme' looming boulders guide the transformation of deschenaux follonier's 'lù chatarme'

 

 

project info:

 

project title: lù chatarme transformation

architecturedeschenaux follonier

location: near arolla, switzerland

photography: joël tettamanti