Chalet Heidi / High-Tech

Verbier, Switzerland - 2003

The challenge of this new construction, a chalet in the Swiss mountains, in a hip alpine resort, was to combine the atmoshpere of a Heidi chalet with the demands of today's nomadic life styles. The walls of the chalet are made of double-layer massive log constructions - a local wood "meleze" - with a layer of insulation sandwiched in-between. Several tons of slater on the roof compress the log construction and protects the architecture from snow and wind. The massiveness and thickness of the wooden wall, unusal in contemporary chalet construction, as most recent chalets are built of concrete, covered with a thin veneer of wood, gives a high level of thermal comfort to the interior spaces. The inertia of the material keeps changes of heat and cold slow, and, combined with a light humidity, contribute to the bodies' basic needs and well-being. The thickness of the wooden construction allows for minimum heating of the chalet, as energy, passively harvested from the sun, is conserved. The chalet features an open floor plan, divided into four squares. The cross in the center, made also of massive logs, represents the structure of the chalet. The four squares flow into each other.