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  6. 2009
  7. Villa Vals / SeARCH + CMA

Villa Vals / SeARCH + CMA

  • 01:00 - 9 December, 2009
Villa Vals / SeARCH + CMA
Villa Vals / SeARCH + CMA, © Iwan Baan
© Iwan Baan

© Iwan Baan © Iwan Baan © Iwan Baan © Iwan Baan +20

  • Architects

  • Location

  • Architects

    SeARCH & CMA
  • Design

    Bjarne Mastenbroek & Christian Müller
  • Interior Advises

    Christian Müller, Monica Ketting & Thomas Eyck
  • Structural Engineering

    Alex Kilchmann, Schluein, CH
  • Contractor Main Structure

    Kurt Schnyder Bauunternehmung, Vals, CH
  • Carpenter, Interior Finishing

    A. Gartmann AG, Vals, CH
  • Electrical Installations

    Comet GmbH, Vals, CH
  • Plumbing & Water Installations

    Oscar Caduff, Vals, CH
  • Mechanical Ventilation & Heating Regeneration

    Lippuner EMT AG, Grabs, CH
  • Avalanche Protection

    Geobrugg AG, Romanshorn, CH
  • Project Year

  • Photographs

From the architect. Shouldn’t it be possible to conceal a house in an Alpine slope while still exploiting the wonderful views and allowing light to enter the building?

© Iwan Baan
© Iwan Baan

Surprised that it was permissible to construct a pair of dwellings so close to the world famous thermal baths of Vals, the client seized the opportunity to develop the site, without disturbing the bath’s expansive views. The introduction of a central patio into the steep incline creates a large façade with considerable potential for window openings. The viewing angle from the building is slightly inclined, giving an even more dramatic view of the strikingly beautiful mountains on the opposite side of the narrow valley.

© Iwan Baan
© Iwan Baan

The Local Authority’s well intentioned caution, that unusual modern proposals were generally not favoured, proved unfounded. The planners were pleased that the proposal did not appear ‘residential’ or impose on the adjacent baths building. The scheme was not perceived as a typical structure but rather an example of pragmatic unobtrusive development in a sensitive location. The placing of the entrance via an old Graubünder barn and an underground tunnel further convinced them that the concept, while slightly absurd, could still be permitted.

© Iwan Baan
© Iwan Baan

Switzerland’s planning laws dictate that it is only possible to grant a definitive planning permission after a timber 
model of the building’s volume has first been constructed on site. This can then be accurately appraised by the local community and objected to if considered unsuitable. For this proposal, logic prevailed and this part of the process was deemed to be unnecessary.

© Iwan Baan
© Iwan Baan
Cite: "Villa Vals / SeARCH + CMA" 09 Dec 2009. ArchDaily. Accessed . <>
Read comments


yahoo · July 09, 2014

What's up to all, how is the whole thing, I think every one is getting more from this
site, and your views are good in support of new users.

wrought iron fence · November 04, 2013

I almost never leave comments, but after looking at a few of the
remarks here Villa Vals / SeARCH & CMA | ArchDaily.
I actually do have a few questions for you if you tend not to mind.
Could it be only me or does it give the impression
like some of the responses look as if they are written by brain dead people?

:-P And, if you are writing at other sites, I'd like to keep up with
you. Could you list of every one of all your social networking sites like
your Facebook page, twitter feed, or linkedin profile?

Your Mom · October 30, 2012

Im Horny!!!

Chris Kulczycki · September 03, 2012

Amazing hidden house in an alpine valley. Love to build something like this in Big Sur.

Amr Abotawila · August 11, 2012

Villa Vals / SeARCH & CMA | ArchDaily ?? ?? ??? ?! #Architecture !!!!!!

Törsak Tongküm · July 31, 2012

?????????????????? ????????? #????????

anar-CHIE-tecture · July 31, 2012

Un projet qui s&#39inscrit dans son environnement et qui le remet en valeur, la construction s&#39établit sous-terre...

NORA WOLK · June 23, 2012

Villa Vals / SeARCH & CMA | ArchDaily

Paul Cohen · April 28, 2012

Nice design!

marypmadigan · April 04, 2012

Villa Vals: Earth house built on the side of a Swiss mountain via @archdaily

Delphine G-C · March 08, 2012

Villa Vals / SeARCH & CMA | ArchDaily via @archdaily

Paula Domènech · February 06, 2012

Villa Vals / SeARCH & CMA | ArchDaily vía @archdaily

Pavel Kozdas Photo · February 03, 2012

Villa Vals / SeARCH & CMA

Serena · February 03, 2012

Villa Vals / SeARCH & CMA | ArchDaily via @archdaily

Curves 'Graph · February 03, 2012

Villa Vals / SeARCH & CMA | ArchDaily via @archdaily

Charles Kirby · February 03, 2012

HOLY SHIT when can I move in: #DreamHouse

Claus Schioldann von Eyben · February 03, 2012

Modern Hobbit Hole!

Love it - I want one too...

Kristen Kuhns · February 03, 2012

Wow, check out this house!

Emily Jane Davies · February 03, 2012

A much cooler #Hobbit home than LOTR #spherical #architecture thanks @ArchDaily

Nora Abdulrahman · February 03, 2012

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Cool and Cheap · December 04, 2011
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Centor4 · October 23, 2011

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Centor4 · October 23, 2011

Villa Vals / SeARCH & CMA

Deni Dani · October 11, 2011
Yohei YAMAGATA · September 01, 2011

@gengen916 ??????????????????????????????????????

DAVIDELAGOS · August 20, 2011


???? · June 30, 2011

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???? · June 30, 2011

Villa Vals / SeARCH & CMA | ArchDaily via @archdaily ??????????????????????????

??? · June 30, 2011

Villa Vals / SeARCH & CMA | ArchDaily via @archdaily ??????????????????????????

???????????????@???? · June 30, 2011

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?? · June 30, 2011

minecraft??????????????? RT @nakamla: Villa Vals / SeARCH & CMA | ArchDaily via @archdaily ??????????????????????????

???? · June 30, 2011

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Kristina · May 26, 2011

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Lau Andrada · November 24, 2010

Villa Vals, or a hole in the mountain | It be possible to conceal a house in an Alpine slope? #architecture #design

Mike Seebinger · October 19, 2010

Amazing cave hotel built into a hillside in Switzerland. Cool.

Mark Whiting · September 23, 2010

@manik615 Have a look at this house in a hill

YILUN ZHANG · September 15, 2010

Reading: "Villa Vals / SeARCH & CMA | ArchDaily"( )

The Code · August 01, 2010
aram price · July 07, 2010
bialopes · June 30, 2010

villa vals ou hobitt? arquitetura contemporanea!

Shawn Swisher · June 28, 2010

is there another home that encapsulates modernity and anthropology this well? please show me!

Edgard Georges · June 27, 2010

Como viver em uma toca, com classe: Villa Vals, Suiça:

Diego Carvalho · June 26, 2010 Que tal morar em um buraco ?(literalmente)

LooLoo · June 26, 2010

Very cool project. The only thing I don't like, is that it seems a bit too crowded inside, because of all those very dominating lamps everywhere. If they got rid of those and the blue hot tub in the courtyard, it would be the best resort.

Mandy Fierens · June 26, 2010

@kevinholesh You would like this

Doda · June 07, 2010

Villa Vals, onde eu queria morar:

Luiz Dumont · May 13, 2010

Reading: "Villa Vals / SeARCH & CMA | ArchDaily"( )

Mark Bailey · March 15, 2010

Dream House of the Day: Villa Vals by SeARCH & CMA -

Mark Bailey · March 15, 2010

Dream House of the Day: Villa Vals by SeARCH & CMA -

Guilherme Rebelo · March 12, 2010
Ana Cristina · February 25, 2010

when i was little I wanted to live underground... so this is pretty awesome to me

Steven · January 28, 2010

Very good!

Toumisha · January 19, 2010


patrick cristaldi · January 06, 2010

Somebody was pointing out that is disapponting that the house is sorrounded by other houses.
This is the greatness of this project, its etichal statement. The house is telling us: "If everybody else builds the same way as I did, the landscape would be mostly preserved. And I'm not doing this for my own interest (I dont see myself from my windows) but for yours!"

mybirthdayis925 · January 02, 2010

one of te most inspiring project i have ever seen
i can see there is room for developing

Esben · December 26, 2009

Nice, very fascinating.

ALI · December 19, 2009

it's incridible;i love it!

Laurent Gloaguen · December 18, 2009

Pas de minarets en Suisse, mais des maisons originales

Mario Estay · December 18, 2009

Incredible project and beautiful place. I really love this job

tseug · December 16, 2009

Great job! i like it

tseug · December 16, 2009

Great job! i like its simplicity

ali shaghaghi · December 16, 2009

good & simple concept

saimon · December 16, 2009


mckowalczyk · December 16, 2009

I really like it! :D

bebeb · December 14, 2009

of course it should be, not

bebeb · December 14, 2009

have a closer look at or
the house has its own website

adli · December 13, 2009

brilliant, i love how smart it's integrated in surrounding space. and the inner space looks cosy and smart too. i give 9/10

Daniel · December 12, 2009

Wow wow que bueno ver proyectos como este...........nice saludos de México

Al · December 12, 2009

Great reveresed house, although i would like to meet more wood inside,

harry · December 12, 2009


tim nolan · December 11, 2009
hazel swayne · December 11, 2009

Would you live here? An #innovative architectural project.

chenlu98 · December 11, 2009

???? ??????
???????cave dwelling

CMO ARCH · December 10, 2009

More pictures here...

C · December 10, 2009

I think is beautiful, but in the same time is SO weird, no??

gorgos · December 10, 2009

I really respect the out of the box thinking of this project.

One point of criticism: Was it really the only way the problem was able to be solved regarding the fence which protects people from falling in from above? It looks rather clumsy. Maybe the wall of the house itself could have continued a bit more vertically to protect. The fence to me sort of represents the fact this concept is lacking real world practicality.

I too was surprised with the congested surroundings the thermal baths of Zumthor are located in. The steep inclinations of the landscape, which are not obvious on the aerial photos, probable help a lot though.

Andreas · December 11, 2009 05:21 AM

That fence is the standard fence used on Swiss ski hills for protecting ski traffic from cliff drops etc. The hill behind the baths can be skied from Vals resort so I am sure it is a must by the resort. They look pretty makeshift but when there is a 2m snowfall base they work really well.

I agree though, it does remove somewhat from the project styling.

ingrid · December 10, 2009


shankar narayan · December 10, 2009


gn · December 10, 2009

that's exactly what I wanted from you archdaily!!!!! awesome

Andrew Geber · December 10, 2009


Mahreen · December 10, 2009

Amazing project.

wtf111 · December 10, 2009

That thing will be a bitch to shovel when there's snow ;)

Hubbmax · December 15, 2009 11:22 PM

Exactly. First thing I thought of. Wouldn't this area have long, heavily snowed-in winters?

nidoll · December 10, 2009

so cute

mnkhs · December 10, 2009

one of the most amazing projects this year

wangshiqi · December 10, 2009


Aristid Chang · December 10, 2009


Stephan · December 10, 2009

I expected a different surrounding, its position is dissapointing to me. Even more shocked by the Vals Therme in the Background, always thought it is surounded by landscape, not by houses.

Nick · December 11, 2009 03:09 AM

I have been in the Vals Therme and must admit, being inside, you don't see any of these Houses, but the wonderful alpes and few old cottages..

E · December 10, 2009 02:22 PM

It is not as crowded as it seems from the image. Vals is fairly rural and one still gets a wonderful sensation from the mountains.

I only hope the villa has a good heating system because it gets very cold up there.

archiyed · December 10, 2009 06:13 AM

absolutely i agree with you!

pathos · December 10, 2009


Matt · December 09, 2009

really great project!

josep · December 09, 2009

speechless! Amazing in so many ways!


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