architecture | reurbanization | sustainability


An old farmhouse in the mountains of Switzerland, which for generations had belonged to an alpine farmer’s family, had been passed on to their direct descendants. These descendants, now living in the city, approached the Swiss architect Peter Zumthor in 1990 to modernise the house for their holidays, yet “without loosing its magic”.

Gugalun means, “looking at the moon”. It is a name of a house built by farmers on a northern slope in Grisons canton in Switzerland. Its long life, originated from 1709, has been linked to the serene life of the successive generations. Nowadays, the direct descendants of this family have a very different life characterised by the speed of life imposed by having both their work and their house in the city.

Life in the Swiss canton was characterized by an austerity, which still is present in Gugalun House. The method of construction was typical of Grisons tradition of knitting massive wooden beams. It was heated by a primitive hypocaust, a Roman technique of a central heating system, which relied on a wood fire, and the circulation of warm air that heated the house by means of a big stone stove. All of these qualities of Spartan austerity brought an appreciation for timeless values…


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