Beautiful boxes feel like a mountain cabin inside.
Cross-Laminated Timber (CLT) is popular these days because it is strong, it has a low carbon footprint and it is easy to work with. But there is also something wonderful about its aesthetic properties, something lovely about living in wood. Years ago, skiiers used to pile into tiny wood ski chalets, and now Carlos Martinez Achitekten have recaptured that feeling in the Revier Mountain Lodge, Lenzerheide, Switzerland.
The architect says that the rooms are supposed to "follow the image of a VW bus: you park directly on the lake, works on the tail and feels free." But I think the old chalet or mountain cabin image is stronger. Oh wait, here are some more metaphors:
Of course, unsophisticated design and modern technology meet in this building. The hotel skilfully combines the atmosphere of a mountain cabin with the freedom of a camper and the functionality of a ship's cabin.
The rooms are placed on top of the more conventionally built ground and second floor which include the lobby, bar and restaurant. They are small at 15m2 (161 SF) and the bed goes from wall to wall, and folds up for more conventional seating. There are some real benefits to modular construction:
A double-walled effect is created by arranging the rooms next to each other which also provides improved acoustic isolation. The bathroom is installed in a multi-functional box. The readymade, fully-equipped room modules were pre-fabricated allowing for precise workmanship as well as short construction and assembly at the site. Modern technology and unaffected design converge here naturally.
The downside is perhaps that all that doubling of walls, floors and ceilings means that it uses a lot more wood. The video gives great coverage from factory (Kaufmann Systeme) to finish. It is actually unusual in that they built a giant box of scaffolding and then drop the modules in from the top. It gives a terrific demonstration of how clean and fast this kind of construction is.
But I just keep going back to the quality of the space and the character of the wood; perhaps there is something to this biophilia thing. More photos on ArchDaily.