Chimera by the Vineyard

Chimera by the Vineyard

Transformation d'une maison - Charrat

In the Swiss town of Charrat in the canton of Valais, concrete and stone unite as a chronological and material chimera.

Genevan architects Valéry Clavien and Nicolas Rossier, in short clavienrossier architects, completed in 2010 the conversion of a house in Charrat that must have looked entirely different before. The volume of the existing building from the 19th century including an adjacent barn was too vast to be renewed in its totality. Hence, the actual construction was preceded by an extensive demolition. What remained in the end were only the cellar and two and a half stories of the old building. The old pitched roof and the rest of the demolished structure were replaced by a new structure of tinted exposed concrete. The pigments show a colour that is similar to the tuff which is also found in small quantities in the old walls.

Let there be Light!

What must have been really annoying in the old building was the missing light. The double-sided pitched roof was too low to allow a view at the surroundings, the façade showed only small windows and was blind in large parts, and half of the building was used as a barn. Due to the conversion, all of this is history. Every outer wall of the new structure consists of four trapezes that run together into a large window. The resulting recess seems like a funnel that channels the sunlight towards the window. Apart from this optical aspect, by means of this, a reduction of the large wall thickness (80 cm) was accomplished. A good natural lighting should not be a problem any longer.

Through Time and Space

The building volumes show two interesting motions. The first is a “spatiotemporal” one. Not only does the volume taper upwards, but the structure is also getting younger from bottom to top. Hence, the ground floor only consists of the old walls, merging into a Janus-faced first floor of old and new, and finally ending on the top floor as a mere new structure.

The second special motion takes place in the floor plan. In the interior, there are no corridors on the first and second floor. Instead, all premises are accessed via an open circuit along the outer wall. Therefore, not only the view towards the outside is liberated, but also the interior space.

United Inside

The visible separation of old and new in the outer façade is not reflected in the interior. Only in a few parts of the building, some of the old walls can still be seen in the form of load bearing walls. But those fit well into the otherwise homogeneously modern interior with its white walls and oak parquet flooring.

Altogether, this house, which is situated right by a vineyard, is absolutely well done. Only one thing bothers me considering the liberated interior: are there really no doors in front of the toilets, and if yes, is this modern or rather very old-fashioned?


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Laura Marysthel... 3. November 2013 - 14:38

No me gusta

Architecture in... 3. November 2013 - 19:47

to strange for you?

Jannet Gonzalez... 3. November 2013 - 15:59

Me gusto

Gerardo Arce L V 3. November 2013 - 17:13

Ahora si nos estamos entendiendo, veo con gusto que por fin aceptas la vellesa de lo rustico, y en conbinacion con el modernismo logra cosas increibles!!! Esto es buen gusto!! Estas callendo mi Pajarito !!,, jaja

Dubrick Ebrick 3. November 2013 - 17:18

estos conceptos son los que me encantan Lili's Delic

Lili's Delic 4. November 2013 - 5:19


Luis Ernesto Ra... 4. November 2013 - 1:18


Alfredo G Cerva... 4. November 2013 - 7:39


Nora Mendez 4. November 2013 - 13:01


Architecture in... 5. November 2013 - 16:15

Thank you all for writing your opinion!