Meuli House | Fläsch, Switzerland | 2021
[Bearth & Deplazes Architekten]

This tower-like house in fair-faced concrete stands guard over the edge of the village, bordering a lane leading to the vineyards beyond. Compact and sculptural like the old town houses in Fläsch, it owes its five-sided figure to the angular plot that led to a corset-like outline for the house, with a small garden on the south side.

The living areas are divided on three floors: a garden level with kitchen/diner and guest room, above that the bedrooms, and at the top, the main living room with studio. All walls are of in-situ concrete, finished inside with a coat of grey-white plaster skim applied thinly so as to retain most of the roughness and the joint marks left by the formwork.

This type of treatment only becam feasible thanks to the invention of insulation-grade structural concrete. The 50 cm thick, single-skin, monolithic outer walls of the “tower-house” have windows fitted flush on the inside. Although the house was built using technology quite different to that traditionally employed in the village, it nevertheless contributes more to the mature structure of this settlement and to the identity of Fläsch than any stylistic plagiarism.

A Semper-like metamorphosis is perhaps detectable in the way the traces of the wooden formwork have been retained, thereby integrating the monolith more with the nearby farm buildings. Text description by the architects.

Photography by: Ralph Feiner