Located in Blasthal, Switzerland and designed by Pascal Flammer Architect to be a simple barn shaped house that incorporates levels both above and below grade. The entrance and social zones are on the main level, which is 7.5m below grade, and the private zones are on the 2nd floor 15m above grade. There is also a third level in the upper most portion of the steeply pitched roof. Constructed of wood and glass, the home is completely wrapped in glazings on its lower level and the end walls of its second volume, but the side walls of the 2nd storey are clad in wood except for matching round windows located centrally within the facade. At dusk, when the lights are on within the house, the round windows have the appearance of the moon rising above the landscape – its quite surreal.
With all the lights on in the evenings, the home’s interior is completely exposed to the outside world, but since the home is surrounded with both wheat fields and forest, privacy is not an issue.
The setting is one of serenity and with the large amount of window glazings, the homeowners can take advantage of the peaceful landscape without stepping outside.
Pascal Flammer Architects used a variety of methods to connect the timber home with the landscape that surrounds it. The below grade level flows from the glazings into the landscape, which is almost level with the bottom of the windows. This up close and personal connection creates a strong visceral link to the land while the private volume above is tied to the landscape in a more distant and observational manner.
The large windows make the house vulnerable to the weather so the architects extended the roof overhang far enough to be both a sun, rain and snow shelter for the home beneath it. The steep pitch to the roof also allows winter snow to easily slide off of the roof.
With the attic level of the home clad in wood siding, the weight of the wood required support through the long expanses of glazings and the creative use of both a vertical beam and crisscross beams that meet at the junction of the two floors creates a design element as intriguing as the round windows on the two long sides.
As with the round windows, the crisscross beams are repeated on opposite sides of the home.
The private volume of the home is divided into four rectangles with a bedroom and bathroom on one side and a bedroom and common area on the other. The common area includes the spiral staircase that connects all three levels.
The social level is designed wit a counter that wraps around the exterior walls morphing from office to kitchen to even a short flight of stairs that leads to an exit/ entrance in the windows.
While there may be an exit/entrance within the windows, the main entrance is a solid wood door just at the end of the long stretch of glazings.
The entrance is just below the moon window.
The window exit/entry is a fun addition to the home’s built in cabinetry and would be the passage of choice for kids and pets
The interior of the social zone, as well as the rest of the home, is completely clad in pale wood with a clear finish and the only element is different is the white powder coated steel staircase.
The various zones of the open concept space angle out from the spiral staircase with the kitchen in one corner morphing into the window exit in the next which eventually becomes an office in the third corner and the TV, living space in the fourth. The only area not connected to the window walls is the dining area.
The kitchen also has an operable window, but this one does not have stairs leading up to it. Did you notice even the sockets on the two pendant lights over the sink are also made with pale wood?
The kitchen cabinets run the length of the window wall before joining up with the steps leading to the exit window.
The custom dining table is made from the same wood as the home’s interior and the legs have the same chunky beam look used in the crisscross beams within the glazings.
The office area also features an operable window and this window is positioned to open towards the office and not away so that the open window can shelter the desk from any breezes that might want to disrupt exposed loose sheets of paper.
The TV viewing area takes advantage of the space between the stairwell and the far wall and to keep the TV free from glare, all the window curtains stack directly behind it.
When there’s nothing on TV, there is always the awesome views, and with the cabinets lining the windows, its easy to perch on the counters and enjoy the views from an open window.
Who wouldn’t want to while away the time in front of a window with views like this?
As amazing as the views are in the lower level, they are that much and more from the 2nd storey.
The 2nd storey is divided into four rooms with pocket doors dividing the spaces and the doors on the long walls line up within the round windows.
The third level is the attic and unlike the other two floors, there is only one small window on either end.
The attic is a closed and private space contained under the roof while the 2nd storey is somewhat private with its wood clad side walls and exposed end walls, the lower level is completely exposed with wrap around glazings on all four sides and only behind the spiral staircase does the lower level have a closed section of wall and this closed section is where the entrance is.
The ground floor consists of one single family room with a noticeably low horizontal ceiling.
This floor is divided into four equal rooms with 6m high ceilings. The height defines the space. Large windows open to composed views of the wheat field.
Pascal Flammer Architect