Pascal Flammer's House in Balsthal features
wooden braces and a circular window

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This house in northern Switzerland, by local architect Pascal Flammer, frames views of a vast rural landscape through round and rectangular windows, as well as through entire walls of glazing (+ slideshow).

House in Balsthal by Pascal Flammer

Located between a wheat field and a thicket of woodland, House in Balsthal is an archetypal wooden cabin with a steeply pitched roof and overhanging eaves, but also integrates modern touches such as full-height glazing and flush detailing.

House in Balsthal by Pascal Flammer

Pascal Flammer specified timber for the building's structure, cladding and joinery. Externally, the wooden surfaces are stained black, while inside the material is left uncoloured to show its natural grain.

House in Balsthal by Pascal Flammer

Criss-crossing timber braces support the structure and are visible from both inside and outside.

House in Balsthal by Pascal Flammer

The base of the house is sunken into the earth by 75 centimetres, allowing the surrounding ground level to line up with the bottom of windows that surround the building's lower storey.

House in Balsthal by Pascal Flammer

"In this space there is a physical connection with the nature outside the continuous windows," explained Flammer.

House in Balsthal by Pascal Flammer

A large fuss-free space accommodating a kitchen, living room and dining area occupies this entire floor. Cupboards built into the walls create an uninterrupted surface around the edges and can function as worktops, desks or seating.

House in Balsthal by Pascal Flammer

While this storey features noticeably low ceilings, the bedroom floor above comes with angular ceilings defined by the slope of the roof. "The height defines the space," said Flammer.

House in Balsthal by Pascal Flammer

The upper floor is divided up evenly to create three bedrooms and a bathroom. Each room has one glazed wall, but the round window also straddles two rooms to create semi-circular apertures.

House in Balsthal by Pascal Flammer

"Whereas the ground floor is about connecting with the visceral nature of the context, the floor above is about observing nature - a more distant and cerebral activity," added Flammer.

House in Balsthal by Pascal Flammer

A spiral staircase winds up through the centre of the building to connect the two floors with a small basement level underneath.

House in Balsthal by Pascal Flammer

Photography is by Ioana Marinescu.

House in Balsthal by Pascal Flammer
Site plan - click for larger image
Ground floor plan of House in Balsthal by Pascal Flammer
Ground floor plan - click for larger image
House in Balsthal by Pascal Flammer
Ground floor plan - click for larger image
House in Balsthal by Pascal Flammer
First floor plan - click for larger image
House in Balsthal by Pascal Flammer
Long section - click for larger image
House in Balsthal by Pascal Flammer
Cross section - click for larger image
House in Balsthal by Pascal Flammer
Side elevation - click for larger image
  • Matt

    Beautiful. Manages to be spare and human at the same time. I’m curious what happens with the sunken ground floor when it snows though? Does the snow pile up against the windows?

  • Seba

    Perhaps it doesn’t snow there.