Ralph Germann's design for this house is driven by the building's natural surroundings, environment-conscious technology, and a simple and timeless aesthetic.
Built on a property on the heights of Sion, the 36-metre-long and 6.5-metre-wide building follows the lines of the hill like a wall in an orchard. A wall that protects and stabilizes the slope was the vision of Ralph Germann for this house. The grey colour of the facade supports the idea of a protective rock. Since Valais is a seismic zone, the structure of the building is concrete.
With a 200 square metre flat roof, the architect translated his clients main wish to create space for as many solar modules as possible. Excess energy is stored in batteries, supplying not only the house with electricity, but also the electric cars. The heating system is based on geothermal heating.
The building is divided into two separate houses: a large 220 sqm house, where the entire living space is distributed on the upper floor and a smaller double-storey flat. The entrance to the house is through an open garage, separated from the wild garden by larch wood slats. The ground floor also hosts a laundry room, a wine cave, cheese cellar, a changing room and a toilet. A staircase leads to the upper floor with patio terrace, kitchen and living space with a large fireplace, a long concrete corridor with zenithal light leading to the different rooms.
In addition to ecological considerations (local materials, sustainable energies, …), the architect had also in mind its future when designing the house. In Ralph Germann's opinion, garages could loose their main function, since electric cars are free of exhaust gases. With the electric cars parked outside, the garage could be used in warm weather as an additional living space, providing shade and a view on the garden.