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issue 40 - October/November 2017
CURVE magazine cover October/November 2017
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UP ON THE HILL

An Alpine Home with Soul

In this wonderfully preserved Alpine valley, stringent architectural guidelines allow for very little freedom of architectural expression. Everything from a building's height/width ratio to roof slope, via building material and window sizes are strictly controlled to enforce a certain style, but which often results in designers endlessly mimicking traditional mountain homes. Mountain House, designed by Studio Razavi Architecture tackles all these issues and results in a unique, personal space.

The team from Studio Razavi Architecture took great care in analyzing local historical buildings so as to understand what their forms functionally accomplished and how they shaped the local architectural culture. The team then integrated this information into the design, avoiding all artificial or obsolete elements while making sure that the building was entirely code compliant. How a given building touches the ground (or emerges from it) is of course universally important, however in the context of a mountain house in the Alps, this has a specific meaning as it was historically related to stables, wood shop and storage.

As a result, the team made sure they expressed domesticity with subtlety and incorporated some form of pure functionality that could historically convey meaning. The floors are then simply stacked above the base of the structure, each projecting out further than the floor beneath so as to provide greater protection, similar to how the main roof in traditional buildings overhangs and protects. Because the sides are no longer used for any specific function there is no roof overhang on the sides.

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