Contemporary Alpine House
Lionel Henriod

Contemporary Alpine House

Ralph Germann architectes s.a. as Architects

Ralph Germann architectes designed this alpine house for a couple who wished to live in a harmonious environment, but there was a prerequisite that it could also comfortably handle gatherings of 20 persons. The architects approached the brief by visiting the surroundings, observing the vernacular architecture of these pre-alps. The overall design was inspired by the simplicity of forms and volumes of the local farms. Ralph Germann architectes selected three key materials for the project: larch (facades, interior furniture and fixtures), concrete and lime (interior walls). The house was designed as ecological as possible, installing a heating system that uses a wood pellet stove. One of the most impressive features of the house is the 35m long “Wall sculpture” realized by Swiss artist Thierry Kupferschmid in Corten steel, which brings poetry to the entrance alley. Some furniture and all interior fixtures were custom built for the house. A 12m long library was designed on the 2nd floor and the 5m high fireplace in the in the living area has been built with 8mm thick plates of laminated steel. The basement of the house incorporates a spa area and a 20 meter long swimming pool.

Cantos - Project for a contemporary alpine house

thierry kupferschmid * 22bumblebees as Artists

Cantos is the name of a particular project, a mysterious geography, a mineral wallsculpture made of corten steel, a heavy weight «object» of ten tons of matter running along the entry wall of a contemporary alpine house designed by architect Ralph Germann.


This project is structured around three different notions: the heaviness and minerality of steel, the lightness and poetry of light, the stories and legends of this remote region of Switzerland. On the huge panels of steel, seven rough «diamonds» are laser cut revealing on each of their facet an intriguing dance of figures and forms, both abstract and figurative, a wild poetry very much nourished by symbols and signs of the legends of this unknown land, where forests and mountains reign supreme, where magic can occur at any time.


At night when the veil of obscurity darkens the land, the time is perfect to see all the figures and animals start to move or even to dance, the lights behind the sculpture draw a mysterious shadow theatre on the wall of the house. The cantos are sung.


Gabriela Mistral Cultural Center
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Gabriela Mistral Cultural Center

Cultural Centres
Santiago, Chile - Build completed in 2010
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