Alpine hut Blattistafel near Gstaad. A small two-hundred-year old Alpine hut near Gstaad that had not been in use for some fifty years was converted for an art collector. The aim was to expose the existing qualities of the anonymous and unassuming functional building and to show them to their best advantage. The wonderful, secluded location and the perfectly proportioned hut, standing on its timber supports, have a magical air that had to be preserved. In order to retain the beauty of the log block with its almost blackened timber beams, the intervention in the façade was limited to installing doors and windows. The windows are a mixture of traditional and contemporary elements. They are divided horizontally into three and can be slid as a whole so as to improve the ability to furnish the hut despite the restricted spatial conditions. The small additional sliding window is made in the local carpentry tradition and serves to regulate the airflow when kindling the fire. The roof was re-tiled with new shingle and a chimney built in the traditional style. Seen from the outside, the spirit of the up-to-date conversion is hardly perceptible; the small ruptures are too subtle to catch the eye. In the interior the plan corresponds the traditional division of kitchen, stall and larder. The ceilings and floors are new, but nevertheless constructed in the traditional manner: 14-cm thick wooden planks which make additional insulation superfluous. The kitchen and the bathroom in the former larder are built of massive stone blocks. The stone comes from a local quarry and its unpretentious appearance makes it an ideal addition to the two-hundred-year old timber. The furnishings were especially designed for the location and open up an exciting dialogue with the traditional world of the Alps.

Photo and performance: Roman Signer