As summer wanes, we present Dwell's favorite modern ski houses—high-design buildings built for tough winter weather, rugged activity, and easy access to the slopes.
Michael Johnson’s answer to having little buildable land to work with in his design of Ruth Hiller’s Winter Park, Colorado, house was to elevate and cantilever the kitchen, living, and dining space over the carport, nearly doubling the home’s living area. "The second floor feels like you’re in a tree house, which is very cool, especially when it’s snowing," Hiller says. The house has received an overwhelmingly positive reaction from her ski pals. "It’s funny, I have a lot of friends who don’t like modernist architecture, and they end up loving my house. They say, 'We didn’t know it could be so inviting and warm.'" Photo by Bjorn Wallander.
To avoid a space-hogging fireplace, Johnson recommended a Bathyscafocus by Focus Creations. Hiller took the suggestion and now enjoys the warmth of a fireplace and the full square footage of her living room. Photo by Bjorn Wallander.
The Strolz House nestles in the winter snow at the edge of the Austrian village of Lech. Large wooden shutters help protect the windows against avalanche damage. The house was designed by Helmut Dietrich of Dietrich Untertrifaller Architects, an Austrian practice known for its sustainable and sensitive approach to design. Photo by Richard Powers.
Built-ins abound in this renovation of a 1970s lodge perched high in the French Alps. H2O Architectes devised a plan to increase livable space while leaving the structure intact. What results is a contemporary ski chalet that makes the most of its small footprint thanks to bunk beds, hidden storage, and streamlined circulation. Architect Antoine Santiard says that there was a lot of investment in the French ski industry in the 1960s and 1970s and many of those buildings have deteriorated. The city of Les Menuires is in the middle of a five-year plan to modernize its resorts and offers some incentives to rehab older buildings if they meet certain requirements—having a lamp for each bed, a certain mattress quality, ample storage, and a well-equipped kitchen, among others. "The city really pushed us to make a little chalet inside this massive 70s building," says Santiard.
Courtesy of Julien Attard.
The desk and bunk beds were designed by H2O and have a prime view of the snowy alps.