MURAZ – Savioz Fabrizzi’s housing projects tend to give off a timeless air of pastoral and romantic comfort. Featured recently in our ‘housing issue’ of Mark #68, the duo of Laurent Savioz and Claude Fabrizzi talked about how they see their designs as ‘a continuity of the building, as opposed to a redefinition of its identity.' The creative pair continue to say how their 'intention is to understand the origins and the history of a building so that we can maximize its potential.’ It seems to be a working recipe with the unveiling of their latest conversion project in Muraz, Switzerland.
The three-storey building showcases a strong and robust mineral base with wooden slats above it under a pitched roof. A neighbouring structure shows the traditional form of the barn and the Swiss mountaintops in the background add to the contextual understanding of this project. The architects maintained this original layout of masonry and woodwork but synthesize it and clarify its relationship in a minimal architectural language.
The house presents two apartment units standing side-by-side and spanning the three storeys. Similar to a semi-detached house it separates the two at the ridge line of the roof. Above the heavy masonry base coated in a traditional lime-based render are partially opened wooden frames. The wooden screens cover the sizeable masonry walls behind them to ensure privacy for the residents.
Openings carved into the thick base of the building bring light into the master bedrooms. The living area on the ground first floor is left to be as open as possible with a double height space. Above the kitchen is the mezzanine with a bedroom and a study area. Windows for these living spaces are placed in a quirky fashion, creating a beautiful play of light behind the exterior wooden screens.
The wooden screens consist of pivoting wood slats and control the daylight entering the residences. ‘This system is a clear echo of the vertical pieces of wood that are used to form openings in the original barn and in this way, the building’s typology is retained,’ concludes the duo. The same pivoting screen is used in the mezzanine to create a direct relationship between the different spaces.