We were challenged to define here a clear conceptual approach which would reunite a traditional building technique with a contemporary architecture and a dynamic language of shape.
Creating new constructions in existing historical or traditional environments is all about balance – fitting in without appearing to falsely copy what came before.
One thing is to design an outstanding modern home, but quite another to make a contemporary modernist design also fit with a less modern neighborhood.
In the minds of all involved in the process, a successful contemporary design should be like what you can see here: something that works with the materiality and scale of what is around it but that is also clearly understood as a new intervention.
Our general philosophy was to create an interesting balance between innovation and tradition.
The scheme’s geometric and material consistency was inspired by the powerful roof forms and simple materials of Neuastenberg buildings. We utilized these geometries to bring light into terraced courtyards and permit oblique views to the landscape beyond the site from all the living areas, including from the apartments blocks on the back.
This was in fact another major goal here, to focus on the site and its particular conditions, as well as on a good integration of the overall project with the surroundings. This was achieved thanks to the possibility to see the skiing slope from all the living areas and with the creation of a communal green area that transports the sense of community from the village of Neuastenberg to the interior of the project.
In the interiors we can see that living areas merge with spacious terraces and high ceilings and full-height glazing increase the sense of space and natural light.
The main entrance leads to a convenient foyer area with a bench, a large closet for bulky winter coats, and hooks for hanging items to dry. This was a crucial point here, to avoid having the entrance opening directly into the living area, with not even a coat closet nearby. That might be acceptable – though far from ideal – in warm dry climates, but it doesn’t work in places that get a lot of snow or rain.
What makes this villas and apartments so inviting is the sense of proportion as well as the fluid circulation that surprises with a glimpse into the outside landscape. A more intimate experience of space is achieved through the sloped ceiling of the living area. The interior spaces contain minimalistic leather furniture, artwork and designer lamps that bring modern inspiration to these both family and nature-friendly homes.
The materials were chosen for their organic appearance, natural textures and colors; like wood, stone, concrete, glass, textile, metal and leather. Ground-floor porcelain tiled floors provide thermal mass for underfloor and passive solar heating.
This project with their slopping roofs and angled shapes can be an excellent example of a structure built with its own and strong sense of identity and modern functionalism that stands out from the normal ski villa, but that also relates to its surroundings in a respectfully contextual way.
Villas Winterberg is a thoughtful and sustainable project, capturing the best in contemporary architectural and interior design. It’s both beautiful and liveable.