This single storey build in Switzerland makes for an interesting addition to a neighbourhood at the base of the Alps.  

tempesta tramparulo exterior of clad building in swiss alps - grand designs - self build 

Image: Milo Keller

Grimisuat in Switzerland, at the foot of the Swiss Alps, is a muncipality with a particular contrast in housing - sleek, modern new builds sit back-to-back with traditional chalet-style homes, each built high for the best views of the picturesque mountain views. 

Part of Tempesta Tramparulo architects' task in building a family residence on this site was in bridging this contrast and creating a home that highlighted the positive aspects of this plot, and such did they succeed, that this house has won the Housing/Architecture category in the DNA Paris Awards 2020

The use of cladding creates an exterior that, from a distance, seems typical of this alpine landscape, but on closer inspection, an intricate pattern reveals more than the modest materials first suggest. 

Read more: Exterior cladding: which material to choose for your home

tempesta tramparulo interior of clad building in swiss alps - grand designs - self build 

Image: Milo Keller

The timber cladding sits proud of large expanses of glazing, meaning that the intriguing lattice design can be appreciated from inside too. It creates a space that's light and bright, and that offers near panaromic views of the mountains, while retaining the privacy of the family living within. 

The sitting room library is the best summary of the spirit of this project, according to the architects: "The frank juxtaposition of a book collection with the view outside challenges the supposed dichotomy between nature and culture, implying that the coming together of opposites can be a prompt to dialogue." 

 tempesta tramparulo Family Residence SELF BUILD IN SWISS ALPS WITH TIMBER CLADDING - grand designs

Image: Milo Keller

This arrangement of rooms allows extends diagonally across the plot's topography, making the most of its natural features.

Instead of competing in height with the buildings around it to secure exceptional views, precisely locating the openings from the house to the outside world have been the focus. 

Retractable, moveable elements on the façade of the home also allow the owners to modulate the light, privacy and views at all times.

Read more: 3 innovative houses built on sloped plots

 tempesta tramparulo Family Residence - self build - grand designs

Image: Milo Keller 

Project finished 2017
Size 269 sq m
Architect Tempesta Tramparulo


What do you think of this exceptional self-build? Let us know by tweeting us @granddesigns or posting a comment on our Facebook page



4 self-build houses on awkward plots

Glazing: how to add natural light to your home

More Self Build Homes...

Kevins Column

Top self build highlights at Grand Designs Live 2019 hosted by Kevin McCloud

Find top experts, specialist exhibitors and a wealth of inspiration for your self-build or renovation project all under one roof.
Self Build Homes

Home of 2030: winning build concepts for housing of the future revealed

A self build concept is among two winners of this government-backed competition. Take a look at these future forward building ideas.
Self Build Homes

Meer End can design your dream bespoke staircase

Bespoke joinery and staircases can really lift a home. We look at how you can add a classic or contemporary staircase to your grand design.
Self Build Homes

Help to Build: Government announces new scheme for custom and self builders

With the government's announcement of a Help to Build scheme, discover the details you need to know.
Self Build Homes

Inside a narrow woodland home, built without demolishing a single tree

With a brief to preserve every tree in this dense woodland site, architect Frankie Pappas created a linear, narrow home that is threaded through this...
Self Build Homes

Discover why a prefabricated house might be perfect for you

German-engineered prefabricated homes are a byword for quality and sustainability. Discover the secrets of the methods in making these fabulous modern houses.
Self Build Homes

Why Insulated Concrete Formwork self-builds are the low energy homes of the future

Insulated Concrete Formwork Systems have arrived in the UK – a construction method that makes new builds quick to assemble and with stunning insulation properties....