Swiss Army Building Converted to a Cosy Chalet

This former Swiss army building that was constructed during WW2, has been transformed in a rather comfortable home by Ralph Germann Architectes. The Switzerland-based firm effectively inserted a glass cube into the existing structure, which helps define the old from the new, and also helps to maintain the character and history of the building.


Swiss Army Building Converted to a Cosy Chalet by Ralph Germann

The internal cube allowed the architects to avoid disturbing the original walls, and preserve the roof and other elements of historical importance. Further to this, the architect used “simple materials” – materials that they deemed to be honest, and true to the character of the building – such as larch, slate, glass and metal.


Swiss Army Building Converted to a Cosy Chalet by Ralph Germann

To avoid creating a home that seemed lifeless or austere, Ralph added some (perhaps shocking) touches of color. Accents of fuchsia can be found in the bedroom, and the bathroom contains it in spades. I don’t know if it’s to my tastes, but it’s certainly a bold statement.


Swiss Army Building Converted to a Cosy Chalet by Ralph Germann

Another important aspect of this design is its functionality, with a lot of emphasis being placed on space and light. The internal living area is surrounded by glass windows, whereas the outer structure contains a few large, but strategically placed openings. The space between the internal and external walls is a kind of glass corridor which no doubt helps to keep the internal unit well insulated.

Swiss Army Building Converted to a Cosy Chalet by Ralph Germann

The living spaces are divided up around another cube that houses the WC, storage and the bed, which can be folded up like a wall-bed to help maximise space when it’s not in use.

Swiss Army Building Converted to a Cosy Chalet by Ralph Germann

The transformed army building is just 49 square meters in size (527 square feet) and provides picture-like views of the surrounding landscape (which is stunning).

UPDATE: A view of the house from the outside was requested. The picture below is about the best I could find.

Swiss Army Building Converted into Small Chalet by Ralph Germann

For more small houses check out this home that hangs over a cliff in Nova Scotia, or this small A-frame cabin that gets receives a modern addition in the form of a glass cube. See all small houses.

Via Freshome
Photos: Lionel Henriod

Niall Burke

Structural engineer by day, tiny house designer by night. Niall has a keen interest in small spaces, green design, and sustainability. He started developing Humble Homes while studying for his masters degree in engineering. He is the founder and managing editor of Humble Homes.

  1. and where is storage space? I had a humble wooden house build last year: 45m2 and 4 m high on the outside, so less in. ample storage space, raised bed on top of rolling drawers, raised table/counter with small fridge & freezer underneath, half loft (lots of storage and extra sleeping).

  2. Hey Margaret, I’ve updated the post to show the best outside view of the house that I could find. I believe the storage cabinets are indicated on the plan by the x’s, and the entire front wall of the bedroom is also storage. Your humble wooden house sounds quite idyllic!

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