Swiss architecture firm Frundgallina has dramatically transformed a rundown chalet in the Jura Mountains into a whimsical self-sufficient dwelling punctuated by a variety of gabled openings. The architects kept the structure’s exterior dimensions, but rearranged the interior by dividing the floor plan into four sections measuring approximately 86 square feet each. The gabled home operates off the grid and is equipped with a rainwater harvesting system.
The chalet was built almost entirely of fir boards sourced from the Jura forests. Vertically oriented rough sawn fir clads the exterior, while the interior boards — also nailed vertically — were planed. Grooved-ridge fir from the same source was laid on the floors and ceilings as well. A thin folded sheet of stainless steel forms the gabled roof and is outfitted with a rainwater harvesting system.
The gable theme continues through the interior where it can be seen in doorways and windows. The interior, divided into four identical volumes, was also split into two levels to create seven distinct spaces, each specially positioned to offer outdoor views. Some of the windows are also large enough to serve as entrances and as such, there is no designated formal door, but rather four entrances — one on each side of the chalet.
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“These ‘rooms’ are connected to each other by large, medium or small openings, allowing a playful, spiral stroll, and continuously guaranteeing the perception of the whole of the interior space, isolated from each other by strongly felt thresholds,” Frundgallina said in a statement. “On each facade are drawn a small and a large window, as well as a double door opening to the outside. Cutting the walls to different heights, they reveal to the visitor the principle of interior spatial organization.”
Images by J.-C. Frund