Lauenen Residence
Friday 14 Jun 2013


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The brief for the chalet asked to provide two distinct apartments. By splitting the chalet into two interlocking L-shapes, two distinct residences are able to share one common entrance. With the further removal of one non -structural wall, the two apartments could be reconfigured into one large residence, with minimal reconstruction.

Local planning regulations influenced the building height, size, and pitch of the roof, and were imposed to keep a uniform and traditional aspect to the entire village

All materials are kept in their rawest and most natural form, where the coolness of exposed concrete contrasts against the rich ness of the local roughened woodwork on the walls and ceilings. The floors are treated with over -sized birch whitened planks, creating variance in texture and bringing softness to the whole space. Large concrete walls were conceived to be adorned with large artworks. The lighting was planned early on in the project so that it could be seamlessly integrated within the exposed concrete ceilings.

An expressive staircase is also used as illumination, where large sheets of semi-opaque glass structurally support a light timber stair. The opalescence of the glass conducts both the natural light from the skylights above during the day, while being bottom lit at night, turning the stairs into a soft light source at the core of the living area.

Due to the planning restrictions and the slope of the site, half of the ground floor would be below grade. Introducing an additional sub-level with a large glazed opening cut into the slope, SSA were able to increase the expected number of bedrooms to ten, as well as introducing large open-plan living areas with triple ceiling heights. The two lower-level bedrooms are configured so that at a later stage, these can easily be transformed into a swimming pool.

The site restraints also implied that the depths of the chalet would be deprived of sunlight. The solution anchored around creating a six metre high exposed concrete light well with a reflector at its core, bringing light into the depth of the plan. The result is a polished steel tunnel that connects the upper apartment living area to the master bedroom, while acting like a giant light reflector in the lower apartments.

studio seilern architects