Das Gelbe Haus – Valerio Olgiati

architectsProf.dipl. Architekt ETH/SIA Valerio Olgiati
collaborators_Iris Dätwyler, Pascal Flammer, Karen Wassung, Raphael Zuber
location_ Flims, Switzerland
construction year_1999
construction supervisor_Peter Diggelmann, Walter Carigiet, Archobau AG, Chur
structural engineer_Patrick Gartmann, Conzett, Bronzini, Gartmann AG, Chur
photography_ © Archive Olgiati
materials_natural stone, in-situ concrete, wood, white color

from the architects_This building, which remained empty for twenty years, became popularly known as the ‘Yellow House’ due to the fact that, prior to its complete renovation, it was plaster-rendered and painted yellow. The original renovation concept for what was then a residential building was devised by my father Rudolf, himself an architect, and agreed with the building’s owner, the municipality of Flims. This concept stipulated among other things that the building should be painted white and the roof should be finished with stone slabs.

After my father’s death the municipality decided to turn the Yellow House into an exhibition space. Since the internal structure of the residential building, which was divided into small sections, was not suitable for its new purpose, we had to take radical action. The building was completely gutted, the interior was rebuilt in solid wood, the old external plaster-work was removed to reveal the natural stone walls, and the roof was removed and replaced with randomly shaped stone slabs. Windows and openings that were no longer needed were filled in; others were fitted with new concrete reveals cast in situ. Finally, the new interior wood structure, the existing external stone walls and the new slab-stone roof were all painted white.

The outermost skin of building is now formed by an extremely fine white coat of lime wash that conceals anything left unfinished. At the same time it evokes a kind of contradictoriness: the bright white surface invests the childlike archaism and sensual materiality of the structure with the character of an abstract thought, which in turn lends the building its “apparitional” appearance.

Courtesy of Valerio Olgiati