Chalets, Refugios and Alpine Architecture

As always my favorite subject – in art and architecture – are mountain huts and architecture in the alpine region. They are the inspiration for my latest series of paintings and I hope to one day get the opportunity to build or renovating one. I have been keeping an eye out for derelict chalets and buildings in the Alps during my visits over the last few years.

After leaving the coast we traveled north, following the french Alps up, we visited Alexandra David-Neel’s House in Digne. She was the most famous french explorer and first woman visiting Lhasa, an inspiration of one in a kind. We than explored some valleys in France, paid a visit to Chamonix with its new state of the art Gouter Hut, and drove over many passes before we took a turn east and arrived in Switzerland.

After visiting the Matterhorn and the new state of the art Monte Rosa Hut, we discovered another kind of mountain hut, the Anen Hut in the Loetschen Valley, probably the most exclusive hut in the Alps. It’s a privately owned and designed hut by a local mountain guide, and takes hiking, ski touring and mountaineering to yet another level. The hut is located just below the glacier and has access to 4000m peaks all around. After a nice day out one can than enjoy a spa, a sauna, a delicious meal and sleep in luxurious bedding…. all for a reasonable price. And last I have to mention the Baeregg Hut in Grindelwald, also privately owned by a trust, and offering a fantastic view and great service in a more traditional style.

By now I was looking forward to my second visit to Ballenberg, a Swiss open air museum with more than 100 century-old buildings from all over Switzerland. It’s a stroll through the past but for one building, my favorite one, the House Matten from 1570, which has been modernized with style inside and sustainable technology has been introduced. This is an example to show case to the visitors of the museum how tradition and innovation come together in the renovation of a historic building. Ballenberg also has presentations of old trades such as cheese making, charcoal burning, shingle making, etc….and many more throughout the day.

 

Next destination Italy……