Over the years, architecture in Switzerland has evolved from the traditional farmhouses and chalets, but it still incorporates vernacular elements in contemporary designs. Architects nestle new builds into spectacular mountain landscapes using either forms inspired by tradition, locally sourced materials, or ingenious designs that minimize the projects’ visual impact on natural settings. Houses with green roofs of levels partly built inside steep slopes represent the latter category best.
When it comes to contemporary architecture in Switzerland, designs pay homage to traditional dwellings more often than not. Architecture firms have to follow strict local building regulations which were implemented specifically to preserve the country’s rural and natural landscapes. Think gabled volumes with simple rectangular forms, timber cladding, and natural stone walls. They also have to nestle new houses alongside existing ones, as available free plots may be scarce. That’s not to say these houses don’t have a contemporary aesthetic. They’re often minimalist and can feature a striking combination of rustic and modern elements. Renovated dwellings also give a nod to their past with rough stone walls that complement smooth concrete.
Regardless of design, architecture in Switzerland always celebrates natural landscapes. Often built in spectacular locations, new houses provide access to breathtaking mountain and valley views. Large windows frame the Alps, pine forests, or picturesque rural settlements, immersing inhabitants into the setting. Following the principles of traditional architecture from the area, these dwellings feature natural or sustainable materials. Locally sourced wood and stone complement durable, no-maintenance concrete. Traditional building methods complement new techniques, while treatments similar to shou sugi ban ensure that wooden envelopes stand up to the passage of time and to the elements with grace.