Detached House, Canton Grisons

The house is located on a steep slope below the village. A wide bridge leads to it from the street above, forming a level courtyard and a parking area.

The building form is defined by the mountain community’s strict building code, which stipulates the height and a pitched roof oriented toward the village church. The ridge of the roof runs parallel to the incline and the house is cantilevered toward the valley, seemingly suspended over the slope. With the façades and the roof uniformly clad in brownish-red copper shingles, the structure blends in with the timber buildings of the village. As a complete rain screen, the cladding allows for a reduced, contemporary formal vocabulary.

The topography is also reflected in the interior. Under the slanted roof, the living/dining room reaches a height of seven meters, and staggered mezzanine levels follow the sloping hillside. The central staircase links all four mezzanine levels with a single flight of stairs each. Wide floor-to-ceiling sliding doors allow generous connections between the spaces as well as closing them off at night.

The load-bearing structure consists of pre-fabricated timber elements filled with thermal insulation and protected from the weather by the rear-ventilated copper shingling. The inner surfaces of the timber panels are whitewashed. Pivot windows of uniform size appear to be scattered across the façade at random, but they actually reflect the spatial layout of the interior. The tall viewing window offers a spectacular vertical panorama down into the valley, across to the hills, and up the mountains on the other side.

The site remains nearly untouched by the house, with wild grasses now growing again all around, seamlessly joining the neighboring pastures. The only intervention is a level deck cut into the hillside to the west.

Location Canton Grisons, Switzerland

Programme Single Family Home

Commission 2004

Planning/Construction 2005–2007

Client private

Gross Floor Area 230 m2

Team G/G Annette Gigon, Mike Guyer, Christian Maggioni (Planning, Construction, Construction Manager)

Construction Management Annette Gigon / Mike Guyer Architekten, Zurich

Structural Engineer Bruno Patt, Zurich

Electrical Engineer Elkom Partner AG, Chur

Heating/Cooling Remo Collenberg, Chur

Plumbing Marco Felix, Chur

Photos © Ralph Feiner