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Béllerine Cabin / Cloux Architecture

Béllerine Cabin / Cloux Architecture

© Tonatiuh Ambrosetti© Tonatiuh Ambrosetti© David Cloux© Tonatiuh Ambrosetti+ 31

  • Project Architect:David Cloux
  • Architect:Pavla Cloux
  • Structure & Carpentry:Roger Moret
  • Masonry:Veillard & Crausaz SA, Georges Crausaz
  • Shingle Roofers:Madeleine Schärer
  • Sanitary / Heating / Ventillation:Pierre Olivier Anex
  • Surveyor:Fabrice Bovay
  • Ligthing:Lightcenter Aosta IT, Elisa Pitassi
  • City:Bex
  • Country:Switzerland
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© Tonatiuh Ambrosetti
© Tonatiuh Ambrosetti

Text description provided by the architects. This project is an evolution of a primitive shelter, arranged around the fireplace, and inspired by the “aircraft” in Antoine de Saint-Exupéry’s “Terre des Hommes”.

© David Cloux
© David Cloux
© Tonatiuh Ambrosetti
© Tonatiuh Ambrosetti

The building sits on a summer pasture in the Swiss alps, 1 '070m above sea level and overlooking the valley of the Rhône as it flows into lake Léman. It is fully autonomous with regards to water and electricity, and heating is generated from a fireplace burning wood sourced from the forest within the plot. In terms of footprint and volume, the new construction is identical to that of a former dilapidated barn which it replaces, while the memory of a shelter under the trees has been conserved.

© Tonatiuh Ambrosetti
© Tonatiuh Ambrosetti

The vision was for a cavern-like room overlooking the valley, with a central fireplace radiating heat absorbed and stored by considerable internal mass. This same mass keeps the space cool in the hot summer months.

© Tonatiuh Ambrosetti
© Tonatiuh Ambrosetti

Technical aspects are intertwined with the narrative of the space and how it is used. Upon reaching the cabin, one has to make a fire to bring it to life. A bit of input is required to achieve comfort, much like camping. When it rains the sound of drops falling on the shingle roof reinforces a sense of shelter, as the water pearls down the overhanging eaves.

© David Cloux
© David Cloux

The project explores an antithesis to automation by focusing on human input. While it is a space for relaxation, it also imposes small chores, such as gathering and chopping wood, clearing the ashes from the fireplace, or greasing the stovetop after cooking, which creates a relationship with shelter. Such small tasks are meaningful, and more than relaxation they provide satisfaction. It is the feeling of knowing that while you are cooking a hearty meal on a log burning stove, hot water is being generated for a shower. Minimal furnishings do not distract from the dramatic and ever-changing views and provide just enough comfort. Space creates a feeling of luxury, primitive and in its truest sense.

© Tonatiuh Ambrosetti
© Tonatiuh Ambrosetti

The timber frame was fabricated and insulated (wood fibre insulation) some 5 miles off-site, and assembled in under a day, while cement for the project was produced less than 10 miles away. The roof is covered with split European larch shingles, and the external cladding (25 mm x 25 mm slats) and internal cladding (20 mm x 20mm slats) were sourced from a nearby mill. Both shingles and cladding are untreated. Larch shingles, when split, offer strong resistance and have been used in this way for thousands of years. The cladding, all local spruce, is more delicate but protected by the protruding eaves, and when arranged vertically and well ventilated, it will be long-lasting.

© Tonatiuh Ambrosetti
© Tonatiuh Ambrosetti
© Tonatiuh Ambrosetti
© Tonatiuh Ambrosetti

Wild cherry and sycamore to the west were considered in the thermal strategy, letting sunlight through in winter for solar gain, while providing much-needed shade in the summer. Their impact is considerable, and they helped justify the large openings when seeking the construction permit.

© Tonatiuh Ambrosetti
© Tonatiuh Ambrosetti

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Cite: "Béllerine Cabin / Cloux Architecture" 08 Apr 2021. ArchDaily. Accessed . <https://www.archdaily.com/959726/bellerine-cabin-cloux-architecture> ISSN 0719-8884

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