A trip — even an imaginary one — to the Swiss Alps sounds like just the ticket right now. (In fact, last week we featured a chalet in similar terrain.) As we settle into another cold winter, it seems like the time to look at architecture that speaks to hibernal lifestyles. Designed by Omar Abdelghafour of Dubai-based L.S. Design, this chalet located on a secluded ridge in Switzerland’s Verbier, a backcountry skiing town in the Southern Alps — at about a 1500 metre altitude — is perfect fodder for our daydreams.
A decidedly modern take on the traditional chalet, this residence forgoes the typical wooden structure for a more contemporary material palette. Concrete, steel and glass are the stars of the show, with thoughtful sustainable touches integrated throughout.
The use of geothermal heating keeps the interior at a temperate 24 degrees Celsius, even in freezing cold temperatures — with minimal energy consumption. A re-circulating water reservoir keeps the home’s water supply consistent without risking frozen pipes, saving water in the process.
Inside, massive glass panes frame the surrounding landscape. Each glass pane is self-heating, made of electric thermo-heat glass, resolving any maintenance of visibility problems.Minimal furniture in shades of grey and understates appliances allow the views to shine. Throughout the structure, skylights illuminate each corner, letting in the ample sunlight reflecting off the snow. And of course, it wouldn’t be a chalet without a cozy fireplace— this one wraps around the living room, creating a warm hearth for residents to gather around after a day of skiing.
On the outside, each surface is covered with anti-freeze material to avoid any damage to the property in freezing temperatures. The chalet is also mounted on an exposed foundation, which allows water to evaporate instead of rising into the flooring.
On one side, solid concrete walls act as windbreakers to protect the house from the Alpine elements. On the other, natural light is let in by a floor-to-ceiling glass window, while one of the exterior walls is adorned with a lush living wall. These plants can survive the harsh Alpine conditions — and with a bit of judicious design, the house will too.
In the Swiss town of Verbier, this contemporary cottage balances sustainability and style.