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Photograph: Gustav Willeit

Robust sensuality: House by Pedevilla Architects

Despite its strict form and contrasting colour scheme, the confident house appears like a shimmering cliff in the picturesque mountainous landscape. The sculptural quality and choice of materials for the interior interact to make a functional body with strong regional associations.

The »Haus am Mühlbach« (house at the millstream) is located at the end of the Mühlwald Valley at 862 metres above sea level. The asymmetrical roof allows visitors to guess at the stacked interior spatial structure before entering the house.  The spaces are arranged as a split-level leading from the more public cooking and dining area on the ground floor to the retreats of the living and sleeping areas on the upper storeys.  A central wooden stairway creates both visual and functional connections between the individual levels and forms the warm, ligneous heart of the house. The quadrilateral window apertures of various sizes communicate with the landscape and allow individual perspectives. Access to the house comes via a deep-set garage entry and the wooden main doorway.

What makes this design unique is its precise choice of materials: local Dolomite sand, limestone and white cement underscore the seamless, craggy character of the house. The coarse plasterwork of the façade, smooth, individually prepared concrete windowsills and a jutting canopy roof of white cement work together to make a clear, monolithic impression with graceful detailing. The interior captivates visitors with its high-quality local materials. Sleek, diffident plastering creates a warm surface, setting the stage for the hand-turned solid elmwood. Gneiss from the Passeier Valley, which is about 100 km away, has been laid in a Roman pattern in order to enhance the interior flooring. The elmwood repeats itself in the windows, inner doors, flooring, stairs and even the furniture and fittings. The handmade wooden handles, door knocker and railings complete the ensemble of materials. Furthermore, the handmade lamps, which show a great love of detail, were created expressly for this project. As imposing as a monolith, yet modest and serene, this small single-family dwelling is functional and sticks to the essentials. However, its delight in detail make it an elegant living space with a cosy atmosphere. Deliberately applied, harmonious elements develop into sensual, almost spiritual interior spaces. The landscape is reflected in materials such as wood and stone, which appear to grow into the inside of the house. The sculptural exterior enjoys a concordance between confident self-containment and fluidity with the surrounding environment.
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DETAIL 11/2021

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