Matteo Thun’s latest design in Switzerland blends tradition and modernity

A private house in the Swiss mountains, designed by Milanese architect Matteo Thun, bridges traditional typologies of the region with a modern aesthetic and the latest home technologies

Mountain villa matteo thun
This private residence hides its secrets well behind a low profile timber facade and an outline typical of houses in its mountainous region
(Image credit: Andrea Garuti )

It would probably be fair to say that the housing stock in the Appenzell region of Switzerland, in the country's northeast, mostly tends to follow the traditional vernacular; pitched roofs, wooden constructions and the beautiful timber detailing that has become so characteristic of the country's alpine architecture. The latest villa designed by Milan based architect Matteo Thun in the region certainly gives a nod to the long established local style – yet when you step in, a different world of contemporary design and all-mod-cons unfolds. 

Sitting on a hill not far from St. Gallen and nearby Lake Constance, this is a private residence that has been designed to respect its context, clad in a ‘Schindel’ larch façade. Its simple outline, made out of a orthogonal box main volume topped by a pitched roof may be typical of its region at first glance, but venturing inside, things change. 

The villa designed by Milan based architect Matteo Thun

(Image credit: Andrea Garuti )

The external larch construction gives way internally to ash wood surfaces, which wrap up in soft lines the whole interior, from walls and ceilings, transforming into furniture and bespoke fittings too. A 360-degree gallery created within makes the most of the picturesque views from the house. Meanwhile, three levels below ground discretely house the owner's car collection, cleverly accessed by an invisible car lift. A swimming pool occupies the external terrace. 

Complex technology is there throughout to support the minimalist design and merge traditional typologies with modern day facilities – heating, ventilation, air-condition, lighting and home appliances can be adjusted at the touch of a button through an app. Acoustics were very important too, as ‘the house becomes a private concert hall,' explains the architect. ‘A special system grants perfect acoustics, while speakers and all other technical equipment disappear in the wooden volumes of the interior.'

Mountain villa matteo thun night

(Image credit: Andrea Garuti )

Mountain villa matteo thun exterior

(Image credit: Andrea Garuti )

Mountain villa matteo thun close up

(Image credit: Andrea Garuti )

Mountain villa matteo thun side view

(Image credit: Andrea Garuti )

Mountain villa matteo thun interior double height

(Image credit: Andrea Garuti )

Mountain villa matteo thun pool

(Image credit: Andrea Garuti )

Mountain villa matteo thun loft

(Image credit: Andrea Garuti )

Mountain villa matteo thun garage

(Image credit: Andrea Garuti )

Mountain villa matteo thun plant

(Image credit: Andrea Garuti )

Mountain villa matteo thun stairs

(Image credit: Andrea Garuti )

Mountain villa matteo thun interior

(Image credit: Andrea Garuti )

Mountain villa matteo thun seating

(Image credit: Andrea Garuti )

INFORMATION
matteothun.com (opens in new tab)

Ellie Stathaki is the Architecture Editor at Wallpaper*. She trained as an architect at the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki in Greece and studied architectural history at the Bartlett in London. Now an established journalist, she has been a member of the Wallpaper* team since 2006, visiting buildings across the globe and interviewing leading architects such as Tadao Ando and Rem Koolhaas. Ellie has also taken part in judging panels, moderated events, curated shows and contributed in books, such as The Contemporary House (Thames & Hudson, 2018) and Glenn Sestig Architecture Diary (2020).