Valerio Olgiati is an acclaimed architect, settled down in Flims, Switzerland. Despite having his headquarters among the magnificent landscape of Flimserstein, he keeps on developing architectural projects worldwide.
The presented building, simply titled House in Laax, is a house located on a 10-20m wide and 90m long lot in Laax, Switzerland. The local building legislation according to this particular area strictly determined the location of the volume. It allowed to construct the building only aboveground at opposite ends of the property. Worth mentioning is that, the lot has its specific feature, as one end of the area is situated in the “village zone”, while an “agricultural zone” surrounds the other end.
The architect formed a clear glazed facade facing the street, as to underlines the location of a public space, and located all private zones toward the view of the village. “The two ends are connected by an underground hall, where the daily life of the family takes place. Two top lights provide natural lighting to the space. All the main rooms in the house are niches and with their gables they transform into caves. Each space is interconnected with a 90m long corridor that forms the spine of the entire building”, he explains.
Both the inner space and the exterior walls feature white in-situ concrete, forming a chilly atmosphere. The whole volume characterised with the immense simplicity stands out of the surrounding traditional buildings. As the architects continues: “Outer appearance and inner experience of the house form a contradiction that only mentally can be reconstructed as a unity. The house has an unexpected “grandezza” and homogeneity that is in stark contrast to the compartmentalisation and heterogeneity of the surrounding village.”