frundgallina architectes reconstructs a small dilapidated 1960s-era chalet in the jura mountains of north-western switzerland. in the renovation the studio maintained a strict respect for the original exterior dimensions of the structure, a legal requirement to protect the swiss jura mountains from all invasive constructions. to address the pastoral alpine landscape of equal beauty from each direction, the building has been divided into four sections, each measuring eight square meters. these four floors had then been placed at different chosen heights to ensure accessibility from the exterior. this results in a spatial richness achieved primarily by the change in floor-to-ceiling height. because three of the four floors are each divided between two levels, the compact interior is comprised of a total of seven distinct spaces.

frundgallina architectes chalet
all images © j.c. frund

 

 

swiss studio frundgallina architectes organized the interior of the chalet as a collection of zones. interior apertures of varying dimensions serve as thresholds which both interconnect these zones while demonstrating a clear separation. the sectional variation is arranged as a set of large steps turning around a central axis. this lends the occupant a spiral tour of the house whilst continuously guaranteeing viewpoints of the whole interior space from every corner. both linked and separated, these living spaces are perceived as a cluster of smaller houses within a bigger one.

frundgallina architectes chalet

 

 

each facade features a small and large window, as well as a double door opening to the outside. each opening cuts the walls at different heights, revealing the principle of the interior spatial arrangement. only the roof axis orients the house toward a specific direction. the chalet does not have a primary entrance nor front facade. it benefits rather from four distinct but equal ones. accordingly, the occupant enters and exits most of the rooms directly to the outdoors, integrating the pastures as a player in the spatial sequence.

frundgallina architectes chalet

 

 

the cabin is built entirely of wood. fir planks from the jura forests — rough-sawn outside and planed inside — are nailed vertically to the supporting structure of the facades and interior walls. the same planks, this time grooved and ridged, cover the joisting to become floor and ceiling. a single folded sheet of stainless steel covers the roof like a sheet of paper, reinforcing the fragile nature of the object.

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