Bogusław Barnaś
Switzerland, Unterschächen

The Swiss House is a multifunctional building with commercial, residential, tourist, and office spaces. Located in the heart of Unterschachen in Switzerland refers to the finest construction traditions. It harmonizes with the climate, landscape, and scenic beauty of the alpine mountainside. The project structure creates a functional social space within the landscape and urban context, forming a covered bus stop, mountain trail and external terraces and public squares.

The Swiss House is a contemporary interpretation of the traditional regional architecture known as the Gotthard House, which consisted of three fundamental layers. The first layer is a stone base embedded in the ground, which protects and anchors the building on steep slopes. In the Swiss House, we have similarly constructed a concrete base for the building, accommodating commercial space on the ground floor and a technical zone.

The second layer of the Gotthard House is a timber log structure, which we have translated into a contemporary design using cross-laminated timber (CLT) in our building. It includes two two-storey apartments with scenic views. Thanks to the reconfiguration of the floors, these apartments offer views on all three sides – east, south, and west.

The third layer of the Gotthard House consists of a timber frame structure with a roof truss covered in slate stone. Clusters of traditional buildings on alpine slopes form dynamic, zigzag compositions of roofs with the characteristic regional pitch. Following the direction of these roof lines, our Swiss House incorporates this final, third element in the composition inspired by local Swiss architecture. The lightweight timber frame structure accommodates four two-storey mountain micro-apartments for rent and a two-story co-working office space. The cascading arrangement of grouped roofs allows for all interiors to open up to a spectacular southern view of the Alpine peaks.

The Swiss House is an environmentally friendly building that minimizes energy consumption and resource exploitation. Despite having six floors, the building does not have an elevator and remains easily accessible for all users. The daytime area of both apartments is located on the easily accessible first floor, while the sleeping area with bedrooms is situated on the floor above. On the third floor, the co-working space and mountain micro-apartments are accessible from an external urban terrace adjacent to the mountainside. This terrace can be reached from the newly designed mountain trail, along with a public viewing platform. In this way, we create a new connection between the town center, the bus stop, and the historic church located above the Swiss House.

By creating a recessed facade on the ground floor, we form a covered space as a public square and bus stop, adjacent to the two-level commercial unit. The culture of creating social and landscape spaces has defined the shape of the newly designed building in the center of Unterschachen.

The Swiss House is a project where we have applied building technologies that are rational and appropriate for the location. The entire concept arises from the character of the place, the local climate, and centuries-old traditions. The harmony we sought during the design process has resulted in the creation of a sustainable, ecological, well-aging, and functional building that blends seamlessly into the natural landscape, providing added value both architecturally and in terms of urban and landscape design. At BXB Studio, we believe that such an approach to architectural creation gives our buildings and spaces an individual, innovative touch, regardless of the country in which we design. We trust that through this, we are creating something more than just modern buildings.

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