hen two gallery owners from Paris decided to build the chalet of their dreams for their family they didn’t know what they had signed up for. Certainly, they didn’t choose an easy landscape to build on, but the father had grown up around these parts and there was no question of building anywhere else.
We are in Lake Annecy in the Haute-Savoie region in France, a renowned ski resort as well as a conservation area, so, in order to preserve the local vernacular style, the laws that regulate the construction of new-builds are strict to say the least. Our two experts of contemporary photography were thinking of something decisively more modern than the centuries-old traditional chalets and they intended to make it happen.
The chalet is 1500m above sea level, near ski slopes. The concrete plinth with integrated parking space and utility rooms supports the sleeping quarter with five small bedrooms. The top floor under the eaves with its glass front, rests on the entire structure in the same way as a different entity in a distinct contemporary style.
The Parisian practice Razavi Architecture had the task of making sense of all the laws that regulate building proportions, window sizes, pitched roofs and what materials are suitable. Led by Antoni Briones, the design team analysed the local architecture to understand its different functions and translated this concept into a contemporary project that pays attention the quality of the space and sheds contrived and obsolete components. The same goes for the decor, understated and modern, which relies on a small number of pieces in Scandinavian style as a well as a sprinkling of vintage furniture that the owners brought with them from Paris.
The contrast between the timber and the grey stone is used in the bathrooms too, this time with stone-effect porcelain stoneware tiles by Mirage. Bathroom fittings by Dornbracht, shower plate by Duravit, washbasin by Alape.
We can all appreciate the beauty of a classic chalet from the outside, a little less when we are in it and we have to look at breathtaking views through the tiny windows of its cramped rooms with low ceilings.
For our Parisian family who spends all their summer and Christmas holidays here, it was important to build a home with a different quality of life, so, without altering the local vernacular, they didn’t hesitate to change the traditional functions of Alpine architecture. They have added large windows, complying with the required dimensions and using local materials, they have created an open-plan living room under the eaves, moving the sleeping quarter to the bottom floor and making the most of the top floor for the main living area: by doing so they have created a modern chalet. This project represents the perfect combination of the longstanding local architectural tradition with cutting edge technology.
Location: Manigod, Annecy Ski Resort, France
Size: 200 sqm ca.
Studio Razavi Architecture
28 rue de Trevise – Paris, France
Team leader Andoni Briones
Facebook Studio Razavi
Photos: Courtesy Studio Razavi
Credits Olivier-Martin Gambier
Photo Design Project Credits Simone Bossi