in the design of its maison broccard, holzhausen zweifel architekten navigates a dramatic sloping site overlooking the ancient fortified city of salins, switzerland and the distant mountains beyond. with minimal ornamentation, the cliff-side dwelling derives its opulence from the richness of its interiors, and the celebration of materials and detailing. located along such a dramatic landscape condition, the project is characterized as a thoughtful curation of spaces, expressing ‘look-throughs, look-outs, openness and density,’ the design team comments: ‘brighter and darker spaces interact and explicitly generate a timeless, sensual atmosphere far from any fashionable materialistic preferences.’
developong the maison broccard, holzhausen zweifel architekten naturally recalls the structures and spatial orders of traditional valais farm-houses. these regional dwellings are defined by an open workspace-hall in the basement, a gathering space for cooking, eating and living on the main level, an intimate collection of smaller sleeping compartments to the upper level. with a differentiation of floor-levels and with the distinctive folding moment along the southern facade, the building directly reacts towards the steep, north-facing slope of its plot.
holzhausen zweifel architekten’s maison broccard, with its massive base and its wooden top, offers a contemporary interpretation to buildings of the traditional alpine vernacular. with a restricted budget, the design team dismisses all elements of decorative craft, while decisively working with standardized construction products. exterior plasterwork, zinc sheeting, and raw plywood-boards. with these strategies, the reference to the vernacular occurs at a more subtle level with such elements as a gabled cement-stone roof, wooden windows, and larch-wood surfaces. the team explicitly maintains a contemporary appearance while rooting the project within its context.
project title: maison broccard
architecture: holzhausen zweifel architekten
location: salins (valais), switzerland
photography: michael blaser