Chalet Marie-Louise is located at the bottom of the southern slope of the Bec du Corbeau, near to the center of the village. The surrounding context is relatively dense and heterogeneous. The project is implanted at the top of the plot in order to seek distant views and to clear the south of the land into a garden. The natural slope of the land allows to distinguish two entrances, that of the main house on the upper ground floor, and a «mountain» room on the lower ground floor, which serves as a checkroom and serves the two dwellings independently.
By proposing to add an independent apartment to a main residence, the construction participates, on its own scale, in the fight against the sprawl of the Valais territory. This program also responds to a request from the owner, a retired woman who is embarking on a new construction project and wishes to anticipate her aging. The apartment will be able to accommodate a caregiver if necessary. In this same reflection, the office located on the upper first floor can become a bedroom which, in relation to the barrier-free bathroom facing it, offers a walk-in option to the owner in case of reduced mobility.
The chalet is composed of three levels. In keeping with the traditional constructions of the Val d’Iliez and a contemporary architectural expression, the lower ground floor is worked as a mineral base in exposed concrete, while the upper floors are in wood frame. The facades are treated with vertical wood cladding, in pre-weathered spruce timber, solid on the upper ground floor and openwork on the attic. The superposition of the levels marks the horizontality of the building, which extends over the length of the plot. The effect is emphasized by the larch cornice and counterbalanced by the integration of vertical posts, also in larch, which punctuate the facade and between which the openings are inserted.
In the center of the house, the vertical circulation unfolds as a resurgence of the mineral base with a large structural and seismic concrete wall against which the staircases lean. In the living room, a gap separates the reading area and the lounge, isolates the master bedroom from the dormitory and creates a luminous resonance chamber thanks to its large zenithal opening. Large French windows accentuate the permeability between the interior and exterior. The living space is thus projected into the landscape, while remaining anchored to the land in which it is located. The integration of large contemplative windows, especially in the apartment and in the master bedroom, offers generous framing on the landscape. Even inside, the presence of the mountains remains strong.
Custom carpentry work is used throughout the house with the integration of storage in each room. In the apartment, the archetypal chalet dining area is interpreted with the implementation of a bench that serves as a chest and extends into a living room unit and step towards the garden. In the cabinets, very simple perforations provide ventilation while forming an ornamental pattern. Kitchens and bathroom furniture were also designed by the architects, in dialogue with the craftsmen. The project combines spruce and larch inside and out. Larch is used for parts more exposed to the weather such as the frames or the cornice. Inside too, it is used for the most solicited elements such as the handrail of the guardrail or the washbasin tops.