13 Epic Alpine Retreats We're Swooning Over

13 Epic Alpine Retreats We're Swooning Over

By Kate Reggev
These contemporary, snowbound chalets make us want to throw another log on the fire and snuggle up for the night.

Despite the frigid temperatures and harsh winds found in the Alps, there's no shortage of spectacular winter vacation homes that we would brave the cold for. Here, we round up alpine homes that incorporate the local vernacular with modern design to create stunning mountain hideaways that are calling our name. 

Vacation Home in the Austrian Alps by Tom Lechner / LP Architektur

An Austrian vacation home’s design references its mountainside setting and expansive views across the valley, and is an exercise in contrasts: its exterior is painted black, but its interiors are light-filled and clad in natural wood.

Lacroix Chessex Architectes realized La Maison aux Jeurs, a cabin in Les Jeurs, Switzerland, situated on a rocky hill above the road. The structure is divided into two volumes that are angled 45 degrees apart with a connection on the mountainside. Both volumes are designed with different views of the valley below.

Casa ai Pozzi makes a bold statement on the mountainous shores of Lake Maggiore. The windows that wrap around this concrete villa afford stunning views of the Swiss Alps, and the inverted pyramid that supports the structure subtly mirrors the surrounding mountain peaks.

Architect Alfredo Vanotti sourced the home's stone exterior from the woods behind the property. "I believe that mountain architecture is an emblematic example of sustainable architecture," he says. Reinforced concrete stands behind the stone facade to provide insulation. Vanotti wanted to focus this project on the simple materials of concrete, natural larch, iron, and wood.

Based on the 1936 design of a bell-shaped metal alpine shelter, "Bivak II na Jezerih" was updated for modern use with an interior outfitted in wood and designed to accommodate the area's harsh climate: hurricane-force winds, several meters of snow, and general water and sun exposure. The shelter can accommodate up to six people with a folding table, overlapping bench, and other multipurpose pieces.

As the proposal from an architectural design studio at the Harvard Graduate School of Design, the Alpine Shelter Skuta Mountain sought to provide an innovative, yet practical, shelter for an extreme climate. The built proposal reflects the local vernacular architecture of Slovenia, with gabled roofs for shedding snow.

Inspired by traditional chalets of the Swiss Alps, Dutch architects SeARCH designed this 500-square-meter home as a single, visually clear volume with wood cladding and decidedly modern glazing and windows.

The solar panels on the roof often get covered in a heavy layer of snow, but with periodic clearing, they are as effective during the sunny days of winter as they are during fairer weather.

Four prefabricated alpine micro-houses by COMMOD-Haus were added to art-lodge—a boutique hotel in Carinthia, Austria. The transportable and environmentally friendly timber frame structures were delivered to their designated spot at the end of a winding mountain road and mounted securely with ground screws. The houses were assembled within hours and the only part that was built on ute was the terrace. Part of the farmhouse hotel complex, guests in the 248-square-foot micro-houses can use all of the hotel’s facilities.

The house’s materials are also influenced by Bavarian-alpine traditions—mainly larchwood in form of tongue-and-groove boards for the façade and as shingles on the roof.

Villa Vals is subtly out carved from an alpine slope in Vals, Switzerland. The unique design by SeARCH and Christian Müller Architects provides both a comfortably sized patio and stunning mountain views while remaining visually unobtrusive in the pastoral landscape. 

Guided by the region’s traditional alpine farmhouses, Austrian firm Innauer Matt Architekten designed the house as a simple wooden building resting atop a solid, reinforced concrete plinth. The striking pitched roof is made of copper with its gable looking down towards the valley, and horizontal larch cladding was used for the façade to give the house an interesting ribbed texture with deep grooves. Courtesy of Adolf Bereuter

Nestled in the Dolomite mountains of northeastern Italy, La Pedevilla is a modern cousin to the traditional farm homes dotting the picturesque hamlet of Pliscia. Its larch wood cladding, painted black, stands both in contrast to the surrounding greenery and in conversation with the distant Alps, a fitting metaphor for a structure that straddles the divide between the old world and the new. Only local materials were used to build the chalet, including the larch wood cladding of the exterior, to reinforce the connection between indoors and outdoors.


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