House of Architects: Ando, Kuma, Mayne and Zumthor Design a Magical New Retreat in the Swiss Alps

Each architect’s design displays hallmark details and material finishes that connect each space inextricably with its author.

Paul Keskeys Paul Keskeys

If there was ever any doubt about the perpetual pulling power of star architects when it comes to marketing ultra high-end commissions, a new addition to the famous 7132 Hotel in Vals, Switzerland, should put an end to it once and for all. The proposed project, named “House of Architects,” will comprise seven hotel rooms designed by Tadao Ando, Kengo Kuma, Thom Mayne and Peter Zumthor, the latter of whom is already synonymous with the beauty of Vals thanks to his stunning, stone-clad Therme Vals spa.

One of Morphosis’ “wood rooms”

One of Morphosis’ “stone rooms”

Four rooms have been designed by Thom Mayne’s firm Morphosis, while the other three architects have conceived a room each for the scenic resort. Each room is unique and utilizes a single, natural material — two of Morphosis’ rooms are clad entirely in timber, while a further two, the “stone rooms,” appear hewn from quarried quartzite, echoing the sumptuous texture and tone of Zumthor’s Therme Vals. Each room features a glass-walled shower and a balcony with panoramic views of the surrounding landscape.

The “wood room” by Tadao Ando

Kengo Kuma’s timber room

Peter Zumthor’s dark stucco room

Tadao Ando’s minimalist “wood room” pays homage to traditional tearooms, while Kengo Kuma’s timber interior displays the architect’s characteristic mastery of Japanese woodwork. Finally, Peter Zumthor’s room is wrapped in an obsidian-colored plaster applied using stucco lustro, an Italian plastering technique that dates back to the Renaissance. Each architect’s design displays hallmark details and material finishes that connect each space inextricably with its author.

7132 Hotel’s sweeping entrance

In addition to the hotel rooms, Morphosis has also designed a striking new entrance lobby at the end of a sweeping ramp and staircase. The gleaming white, curvilinear form spirals around an aperture that framed a view of sky in a manner reminiscent of artist James Turrell’s Skyspaces. The addition constitutes a more reserved concept than Morphosis’s previous proposal for Vals — a controversial 1,250-foot-tall skyscraper clad entirely in reflective glass.

That project provoked a great deal of antagonism among architects and critics alike — meanwhile, this proposal looks likely to sit much more comfortably with fans of Vals’ pristine beauty. Stay tuned for more coverage as “House for Architects” continues into the construction phase.

All images © Global Image Creation, via 7132 Hotel

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© Johan Dehlin

Photography Studio for Juergen Teller // 6a architects

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