House T / Link architects
To the north of the municipality of La Tour-de-Peilz, on the edge of Lake Geneva, lies an old vineyard above the town. The setting is distinctive: the southern side of the hill is built up, whereas most of the northern slope is covered in woodland. A steep lane leads to the site, flanked by high walls, just like a path running through a vineyard. The theme of the wall is an integral part of the neighborhood. The project draws inspiration from this theme, taking its cue from existing structures. The wall blends in with the lie of the land, before undergoing a transformation into a sculpted monolith that rises from the top of the hill.
The entrance to the villa is through a covered passageway, like the entrance of a burrow. Two main passageways lead off from the entrance hall, one serving the lower level with the children’s rooms facing the garden and forest; the other provides access to the living areas on the upper floor, including a spacious terrace offering mountain views. The volumes are completed by the north-facing parental suite, overlooking the woods. On the lower ground floor, there are two children’s bedrooms in a row. The passageway serving them follows the natural contours of the northern slope, with level landings in places.
The bedrooms open straight onto their garden. At the end of the passageway is a third room, at the closest of the edge of the forest. The bay window focuses attention on the woodland backdrop. This section rises above the ground like a shack, further amplifying the impression of being immersed in nature. A staircase leads to the center of the main area on the upper floor. The lounge and dining room are arranged around the central kitchen island. The woods and the lake – the site’s two outstanding assets – fill the view from the large bay windows at the end.
The materials used for the building envelope are simple – rudimentary, almost. Concrete provides visual unity for the construction; the structure itself establishes the morphology of the project, echoing the rock that forms the hill. The concrete is sand-blasted, highlighting the monolith’s mineral aspect; this skin also ensures long-lasting protection, and therefore ecological, to the various climatic stresses. A layer of plants covers the faceted roof, like lichen on a rock, further enhancing the way the structure blends seamlessly into the surrounding site.