Villa Vals is a uniquely secluded house set within a Swiss hillside. It’s probably one of the quirkiest houses to be featured on Homeli thus far as it is accessible only via an underground tunnel from a nearby barn, and has been cut into a hillside to create a circular sheltered courtyard. Due to its location in the popular Swiss tourist village of Vals famous for its natural hot springs (Therme Vals) planning permission could have been an issue. However thanks to its largely underground presence – and the resulting virtual invisibility from the hillside above – permission was granted.
As mentioned this unique dwelling is accessible only via an underground tunnel which starts in a traditional Graubünder barn downhill in the main village. The inside of this stone-built barn is pictured above and the use of it as the exclusive access point also aided in getting planning permission as it stopped Villa Vals from appearing too residential. The tunnel is entirely concrete and makes the Villa Vals development feel like a bunker – albeit with some amazing views over the Swiss countryside. This PDF file shows the fascinating floorplans, elevations and the tunnel setup of Villa Vals.
Not only is the exterior architecture of Villa Vals quirky in the extreme, the interior also features some pretty unique ideas. This room has an amazing vaulted ceiling – akin to the rib vaults of a medieval cathedral – and inclusive shelves made out of what appears to be a kind of board similar to OSB chipboard or fibreboard. The connected dining area and kitchen features an absurdly long dining table which seems to be made out of a single plank of wood. Above it are several different lamps with playfully chaotic wiring.
Virtually the entire interior is left as unfinished concrete which was needed to form the retaining walls in this underground dwelling. However it isn’t at all cold and has been excellently furnished with pieces by a number of dutch designers including Hella Jongerius, Aldo Bakker and Demakersvan. Villa Vals was designed by architects Bjarne Masterbroek of SeARCH and Christian Müller of CMA.
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