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Haus Vogelbacher, Pierre Zoelly, Stampa, Bregaglia, Canton of Grisons. Swiss brutalism, Schweizer Brutalismus, brutalisme suisse. Explore on

Vogelbacher House

Picture of Words & Photography: Karin Bürki

Words & Photography: Karin Bürki

“A mountain house should always be a minimal act with maximum safety. It must condense the site characteristics into a man-made mold. It is not a mirror, but an echo.” Pierre Zoelly

Designed as a holiday home for René Vogelbacher and his wife Evelina (née Stampa), who was a prominent postwar voice in the women’s movement of the liberal party (FDP), this 1978 gem lays out the basic formula for the Pierry Zoelly mountain house. Architecturally, this translated as alpine avantgarde. In essence, Zoelly took the simplicity and year-round shelter of the traditional Val Bregaglia mountain house, giving it a contemporary spin: a sculptural reinforced concrete tree forms the foundation and static core. The centrepiece also doubles as a cosy fireplace. Thick walls, a gneiss-plated roof and tiny windows protect against the elements, while a large glass front adds a modern, light and airy touch.

The metal shutters are painted in the colours of the 1977 Fiat collection. They lift the mood during the long, dark winters, but come into their own in autumn, when the larch forests turn golden.

© Karin Bürki/Heartbrut

© Karin Bürki/Heartbrut

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