The Larch Barn

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Located on the cusp of a forest in the Bagnes municipality of Switzerland. The designers at Alp’Architecture Sàrl have taken the old abandoned Larch Barn and reinvigorated it into a residence that suits a modern lifestyle while also maintaining the allure of the original structure. To meet the needs of the couple moving into the space, new volumes needed to be added to accommodate a garage, bathroom, equipment room, etc., as well as a new entrance to the home. But to retain the charm of the barn, the architects deftly placed these new spaces at the back of the barn, as well as creating a new underground volume that doubles as a plinth for the original building. But how were they able to build underneath the barn you may ask? During construction, the old structure had to be completely dismounted so they could build the underground parts, with a numbering system for every original piece of wood ensuring the whole thing could be put back together again when ready.

The interior turns the rustic appeal of the exterior on its head, with wonderful open spaces finished with rich wood and polished concrete.

This allowed the firm to construct the lower level with ease, as well as a new wooden frame over which the original cladding could be laid over to preserve its traditional look. This process of putting the old skin over a new skeleton will make the home structurally sound enough to survive the extreme weather of the Swiss valley for many years to come, along with letting the architects dutifully inspect every piece of the cladding to make sure the façade has no unwanted gaps or holes. But besides these practical advantages, the process also left the interior completely open for the architects to design as they please. The interior turns the rustic appeal of the exterior on its head, with wonderful open spaces finished with rich wood and polished concrete. The home is flooded by natural light on all sides, and every room features built-in furnishings to maximize the available space of each room. These furnishings are especially impressive as they reflect the same level of precision the firm brought to cataloging the exterior cladding, with no centimeter (or inch) of any object out of place. Working in collaboration with energy consultants at Acrowatt Sàrl, the architects have created a home that reflects alongside modern tastes a modern sense of environmental responsibility, as they integrated solar panels, photovoltaic panels and a double flow ventilation system into their design scheme. As a whole, this building fosters a love for both the old and the new in Swiss design, finding beauty in all aspects while giving each element the space it needs to make the Larch Barn a timeless creation. Photography © Christophe Voisin

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.

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