Bridging the Old and New in Swiss Design

View all 20 Photos

Embedded in a secluded corner of Balsthal, Switzerland, Swiss architect Pascal Flammer’s timber frame house ignites a modernist aesthetic with a traditionally grounded kindling. Viewed within its context, the house at first evokes the picture of an archetypical cabin in the woods. But moving into the interior, one notes the open layout more typical of a modern home. This duality is most apparent in the stark contrast between the ground floor and the upper. The ground floor’s below grade section presents a remarkable entry atypical of most houses; where one is expected to step down and not up to enter the space. This combined with the low ceiling and sparse accouterment drives one to the wide vistas occupying all sides, encouraging them to take in the surrounding beauty of nature. But as one moves up to the second floor, this feeling is reversed. A high rising roof replaces the cramped ceilings and the vistas are severely limited on the length of the home by the roof’s eaves. This is especially present in the inclusion of a large circular Kahnesque window that’s view is almost completely obscured. This space instead asks the viewer to consider the beauty of the structure itself, and to observe nature from a distance. This duality meshes well with the many modernist touches throughout the house: the Gropius spiral staircase, the Eames and Wassily chairs, and yet all these find a home under an old-fashioned pitched roof and a naturally finished wood interior. This building’s approach is textbook Swiss design, giving credence to modernist ideals, while also acknowledging the beauty of traditional construction. Like a Maillart bridge, it connects the old and new in a breathtaking fashion. Photography © Ioana Marinescu

    string(16) "Nathaniel Barlam"

Nathaniel

Amid the unrest of earning his Bachelor’s degree in Architecture from RISD, Nathaniel manages to find the time to read, write, hang out with friends, play drums, and listen to music. Nathaniel has learned a lot about architecture firsthand thanks to opportunities to live and work in Rome and Brooklyn during the past year. Coming from a family with strong roots in the Lower East Side of Manhattan, Nathaniel has always maintained a strong love for NYC especially, and after his studies finish up in Providence he may move there for a while. He hasn't decided yet. You can connect with him via Linkedin or by visiting his Portfolio page.

Tags: ,

Featured Products Explore new arrivals at the Gessato Shop

More for you

  • The Hoof Cafe

    A brutalist, minimalist interior that references equestrian architecture. Dubai-based studio Bone designs spaces that challenge…

  • Residenze Carlo Erba

    An apartment building designed as a contemporary evolution of traditional Milanese architecture. Located in Milan,…

  • The Hinterhouse Sauna

    A minimalist wood-clad sauna designed for a Nordic-inspired retreat in a woodland in Quebec, Canada….

  • Casa Estudio

    Two homes designed as neighboring volumes connected by a central patio that opens towards a…

  • The Longhouse

    Inspired by pastoral sheds, this Australian farm and home is specially designed to thrive in…

  • Slot House

    An angular, minimalist home nestled in the tranquil landscape of Los Altos Hills, CA. Built…

  • Casa Mérida

    A brutalist concrete house that draws inspiration from Mayan and Yucatán traditions. Located in Mérida,…

  • Steel Craft House

    A modern dwelling designed with a Corten steel facade that mirrors the neighboring traditional houses….

  • Tack Barn

    An old barn transformed into a family weekend retreat. Inspired by Jack London’s belief in…

  • Villa Sophia

    A contemporary dwelling designed with sculptural interiors, work and living areas, and an artificial intelligence…

  • Writer’s Studio

    A stone, wood, and glass cabin nestled in a woodland. Some studios provide everything you…

  • Aldo Beach House

    A 1940s beach house transformed into a gorgeous contemporary home with two new wings that…

Take me there

  • The TypeO Loft

    A relaxing Swedish retreat designed with one open-plan room and floor-to-ceiling windows. Part of a…

  • The Roncolo 1888 Resort

    A high-end bed and breakfast on a sprawling wine estate in Italy. Located in the…

  • Beach Hotel in Odessa

    A spectacular guest suite imagined for a beach retreat in Odessa, Ukraine. With the 2020…

loader