Concrete house by Nickisch Sano Walder
Architects built from remnants of a log cabin

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Nickisch Sano Walder Architects has deconstructed an Alpine log cabin to create the framework for a stark concrete hideaway with the same footprint and form as its predecessor (+ slideshow).

Refugi Lieptgas Concrete Cabin by Nickish Sano Walder Architects
Photograph by Gaudenz Danuser

Situated in Flims, in the Swiss Alps, the 40-square-metre house known as Concrete Cabin replaces an aged log cabin to provide a holiday home for up to two people.

Refugi Lieptgas Concrete Cabin by Nickish Sano Walder Architects
Photograph by Gaudenz Danuser

Restricted by a planning order that demanded "the character of the persisting cabin" be retained, local studio Nickisch Sano Walder Architects chose to use the original timber as the mould for the new concrete house.



Refugi Lieptgas Concrete Cabin by Nickish Sano Walder Architects
Photograph by Gaudenz Danuser

As a result, the cast concrete walls of the structure feature round log-shaped indents that are imprinted with a wood grain.

Refugi Lieptgas Concrete Cabin by Nickish Sano Walder Architects
Photograph by Gaudenz Danuser

"This ensemble created an image that leaves a strong memory about this place," said the architects.

Refugi Lieptgas Concrete Cabin by Nickish Sano Walder Architects
Photograph by Ralph Feiner

The building is divided over two floors, with a living and cooking area at ground level, and a bedroom and bathroom concealed in the leftover cellar of the original cabin.

Refugi Lieptgas Concrete Cabin by Nickish Sano Walder Architects
Photograph by Ralph Feiner

"Guests in Flims mostly spend their days in the surrounding nature – the cabin is used as a refuge, a resting and recreation place," said the firm.

Refugi Lieptgas Concrete Cabin by Nickish Sano Walder Architects
Photograph by Ralph Feiner

A small extension to the rear of the cabin accommodates the staircase between upper and lower levels, as well as a storage room and toilet.

Refugi Lieptgas Concrete Cabin by Nickish Sano Walder Architects
Photograph by Gaudenz Danuser

The cabin was designed with only a single window on each level, but there are few artificial light sources.

Refugi Lieptgas Concrete Cabin by Nickish Sano Walder Architects
Photograph by Ralph Feiner

"To provide an intimate atmosphere to the interior space the cabin didn't need much light, rather precise openings with specific glimpses into the forest," said the architects.

Refugi Lieptgas Concrete Cabin by Nickish Sano Walder Architects
Photograph by Ralph Feiner

A circular skylight punched out of the thick ceiling over the fireplace – also cast in concrete – funnels additional light into the living area.

Refugi Lieptgas Concrete Cabin by Nickish Sano Walder Architects
Photograph by Gaudenz Danuser

On the lower level, a glazed wall and doorway runs parallel to a polished concrete bathtub in the bedroom.

Refugi Lieptgas Concrete Cabin by Nickish Sano Walder Architects
Site plan
Refugi Lieptgas Concrete Cabin by Nickish Sano Walder Architects
Ground floor plan
Refugi Lieptgas Concrete Cabin by Nickish Sano Walder Architects
Basement floor plan
Refugi Lieptgas Concrete Cabin by Nickish Sano Walder Architects
Long section one
Refugi Lieptgas Concrete Cabin by Nickish Sano Walder Architects
Long section two
Refugi Lieptgas Concrete Cabin by Nickish Sano Walder Architects
Cross section
  • Too bad that the robust exterior reflects to the interior. Some use of warmer materials in the interior such as wood would have been much more enjoyable.

    • kazabazua

      Ya, concrete isn’t the best insulator. I was scratching my head at this one.

  • Taylor

    Stunning.

  • Luke

    Beautiful.

  • rivergirl

    Brrrrr.

  • mik

    Sublime.

  • Rebecca

    Is it possible to stay here? Can you give a link to the website if so?

  • Roman Michel

    Rachel Whiteread’s influence on this project is so obvious that it could have been mentioned!