Imagining This Swiss Concrete Cabin Under an East Vancouver Bridge

With our city now so laughably unaffordable, thousands of Vancouverites are stuck imagining wonderful homes instead of living in them. Spaced is a record of our minds wandering the world of architecture and design, up and away from the unrewarding realities of shoebox condos, dark basement suites, sweet f~ck all on Craigslist and three levels of government that couldn’t give a damn.

(via) Located in the Flims woods of Graubünden canton in Switzerland, this hideaway appears in a clearing like an old and weathered cabin made of wood. In reality, however, it’s actually very modern — built almost entirely out of concrete. The exterior’s distinctive “log cabin” look was achieved by using the logs of the original building it replaced as a mold to cast the new construction.

The cool trick was played by local firm Nickisch Sano Walder Architekten. From Alpine Modern:

Years back, Guido Casty, the 1974 bobsledding FIBT World-Championship silver medalist and local restaurateur who owns the property, had planned to replace the crumbling herder’s hut with a new cabin he could rent out to vacationers. The building permit was denied. The new design needed to somehow incorporate the existing structure. He gave it a rest. When his itch to tackle the old cabin returned, Casty tasked an architect friend in Basel with a new plan that would comply with the community’s stipulations. Since the project was small and the architect was two and a half hours away, Casty asked Selina Walder of the local Nickisch Sano Walder Architekten to manage the construction. The Flims native had been waitressing for him for many years and graduated from the renowned Accademia di Architettura di Mendrisio, where she had studied architecture under Valerio Olgiati, one of Switzerland’s foremost modern architects. 

The living area is on the main floor and includes an oculus skylight, beautiful fireplace and kitchen – all clad cleanly in concrete. A new subterranean level sees a bedroom and bath. If we could hide a replica of this stunning getaway anywhere in Vancouver, we’d choose the leafy ravine area under the bridge by VCC-Clark Skytrain Station.


Images by Gaudenz Danuser, Ralph Feiner, Nuw

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