From afar, Villa Vals, a home designed by SeARCH & CMA Architects, appears as a crater sunken into a rural hillside. The unusual construction method was, in fact, purposely utilized to maintain the famous mountain views from the nearby thermal baths in Vals, Switzerland. By embedding the home into the hill, the owners were able to avoid many of the strict local building codes while appeasing local residents. The architects describe the project as “an example of pragmatic unobtrusive development in a sensitive location.”
Accessed via an old Graubünder barn and an underground tunnel, the home enjoys breathtaking views of the surrounding Alpine slopes from both the front patio and interior spaces. The structure, and consequently, most of the interior, is composed primarily of concrete, accented by stacked stone that mimics the material found on the barn and other local structures. Surprisingly bright interior spaces implement a utilitarian design scheme that includes exposed structural elements and integrated shelving and furniture.
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