The three rental houses (Oberhus, Untenhus, and Türmilhus) designed by the world-renowned architect, Peter Zumthor, were built in a remote hamlet, at an altitude of 1500 meters.
As we approach from a distance, the three houses in the quiet Swiss mountain village of Leis perfectly camouflage as typical cabins built in the local architectural style. Yet, as you draw near, the houses’ impressive panoramic windows reveal that while the chalets clearly respect and refer to the surrounding, traditional architecture, they are quite exceptional. What makes them stand out is their minimalist and uncompromising design.
The story, as always, starts with a vision. The architect’s wife, Annelise, had a clear idea of what a perfect house should look and feel like. Her husband decided to bring this dream to fruition. The other two houses followed suit. Perched on a slope near a picturesque white chapel, the chalets offer a perfect respite from the busy life most of us lead nowadays.
The first impression upon entering the Oberhus, the biggest of the three Zumthor chalets, is the omnipresent natural light and the warmth of the main construction material – timber. The 160 square meters of living space spread over 3 floors. The spectacular bay windows spread from one wall to another and from the floor to the ceiling. This feature, very unusual in traditional box-shaped wooden houses, required out-of-the-box architectural solutions, to ensure stability. The stunning views that unfold before our eyes as we walk through the rooms, prove that the result was undoubtedly worth the effort. Each space offers a different, ever-changing panorama of the breathtaking Swiss mountains. As the seasons, the light, and the weather conditions change, each moment in the chalet is quite unique. The windows do not open, which required the architect to plan special, meticulously made, small ventilation windows that ensure undisturbed airflow.
Timber is the dominant element of the interior. The wooden floors, walls, and ceilings emanate warmth and coziness, while the scrupulous finishing of the construction elements reminds the visitors that it is an example of exquisite architecture. Solid timbers form the exterior walls of the three-story building. Their corners were cut out and joined with awe-inspiring precision. Peter Zumthor is well-known for paying close attention to detail and choice of material, and his vacation homes are no exception to that.
The interior design harmonizes perfectly with the volume of the building. Lighting and furniture by Baltensweiler, Rodolfo Dordoni, Antonio Citterio, Warren Platner, Eero Saarinen, Eileen Gray, and Peter Zumthor underline the minimalist and yet very intimate character of the interior.
The homely atmosphere encourages you to sit back in the armchair while a fire crackles in the fireplace nearby. Make yourself comfortable and soak up the view of the snowy slopes in the winter or Alpine meadows gently waving in the fading summer daylight.
You can find more info on the rental of the Zumthor Vacation Homes via Urlaubs Architektur, a website that lists inspiring holiday homes and hotels across Europe.