Waking up in an alpine wonderland with warm croissants delivered to your doorstep is just one of the many charms of the Whitepod Eco-Luxury Hotel—and the resort recently debuted a new set of timber chalets that are prefabricated and energy self-sufficient.
Lausanne- and Los Angeles–based Montalba Architects designed the new additions to provide mountain housing for groups and families. The cabins complement the resort’s existing 18 geodesic dome–shaped tents—known as "Pods"—one of which was also designed by the firm.
The sloped terrain and the resort’s dedication to sustainability informed the architects’ decision to prefabricate the timber chalets off-site for quick and easy assembly atop foundation slabs poured on-site.
The eco-chalets, the majority of which are still under construction, will be available in two layouts: a single-story 1,010-square-foot unit, and a two-story, 2,150-square-foot unit that takes advantage of the sloped landscape with living areas on the lower level and the bedrooms up above. It takes about three months to construct each single-story chalet, and it takes four to five months to complete each two-story chalet.
"The completion of the remaining chalets will give the image of a mountain village that blends seamlessly into the sloping landscape while mirroring the traditional chalet villages found nearby," explain the architects. "Multiple chalet exteriors have been completed with wood paneling to further blend the structures with the mountainous environment, while also evoking the design of a traditional Swiss chalet."
Inside, the chalets are divided into "day" and "night" zones separated by a central volume containing all the service equipment. The day side holds the entrance, a spacious dining area, and a living area with a kitchenette. The night area on the other side contains three bedrooms and two baths, with each bedroom comprising a king-sized bed or twin beds to accommodate a maximum of six people per chalet.
The larch-clad chalets are minimalist in design so as not to distract from the spectacular alpine landscape. The interiors are lined in OSB wood panels with polished concrete underfoot. Large, triple-glazed windows frame views of the mountains and open up to let in natural ventilation.
Decorative boards, external laths, OSB panels, a wind membrane, a wind barrier, and two layers of heat insulation keep temperature fluctuations to a minimum. This envelope is bolstered by an in-wall active thermal regulation system and a heat pump powered by local hydroelectric turbines to keep each chalet toasty and warm all winter long.
Whitepod’s eco-chalets are now open for booking, and stays begin at 650 Swiss francs ($700 USD) for a minimum of two nights.
Stay up to Date on the Latest in Prefab Homes
From cozy cottages to large family houses, see how prefab continues to redefine the future of construction, building, and design.