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Two Houses 
Leis, Vals, Switzerland
completed 2013

Leis is a remote and authentic swiss mountain village, it consists of about a dozen old houses and stables. Peter Zumthor had already built three new houses in the neighbourhood (on the left side of the image above). For the remaining lots a masterplan was made which defined volumetric settings and facade materials in order to guarantee a minimum of architectural quality for the development of the village.

Two new houses were to be planned for clients with different backgrounds and needs. The aim was to make the houses appear as a pair, despite their differences in programm and dimension. Together with the existing stables they form a space that connects them with the village.

Both buildings share the same organisation in section: Main entrance and technical spaces in the basement, sleeping rooms in the middle floor, kitchen and living rooms on the top floor. Each floor has a different construction system that fits its needs: concrete for the basement, wooden balloon frame for the middle floor, and traditional massive "Strickbau" for the top floor. This section becomes evident in the facades, but a shift in proportion creates a different reading: The concrete base is raised by half a story and such compresses the windows of the middle floor to a horizontal stripe. This gives the impression of two-storied houses, the middle floor is reduced to an ornamental frieze displaying its framework construction. This direct way of expressing their construction makes the houses familiar with the surrounding traditional architecture. It makes them become a part of the village.

Site plan Leis

Traditional houses in Vals.

Casa nouă, fără etaj, începe pe locul celei vechi, dar se întinde pe aproape toată lățimea terenului, împartind curtea în două: grădina din față si livada din spate. 

Two Houses in Leis  -  Ground  floor

Two Houses in Leis  -  First  floor

Two Houses in Leis  -  Second  floor

Two Houses in Leis  -  Longitudinal  section

Fotos 7-20 © Ioana Marinescu

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