Living off the grid, escaping the compliant, complacent, commercial lifestyle of everyday Western living, has long been a fantasy of mine. Living inside a hill, or under one, or under a waterfall, or over a stream – that has been another life-long dream to build a unique home, completely enveloped in natural surroundings. I recently came across Villa Vals, a beautiful post-modern home built into a large hill in Vals, Switzerland, near the famous thermal springs of Therme Vals – a hotel/spa complex that is built directly over the natural hot springs.
Completed over two years in 2009, the home is a a joint-venture between Christian Müller Architects and SeARCH, Amsterdam. Built as a holiday getaway for a very lucky private client, the home slices into the mountain in a way to draw no attention away from the beautiful mountain surroundings and breathtaking vistas.
The unusual cut into the hill, a rounded slice into a large living yard, is stunning and unique. The building itself may seem a bit bunker-like with its cement walls and linear flow, but the earthy elements of rough rock, warm woods and many large windows opening to that amazing view of the mountains all tie the design back to the natural theme of the conceptual design.