Enchanted mountain

Vals, Switzerland

Apr 2013

Text Laura Taccari

Listen: Beach House, Zebra

Vals has an area of 150 km2, of which only 0.5% is occupied by houses and streets. Most of its surface is covered in rivers, glaciers, forests and grass. Leis sits in this enchanting setting: too small to be classified as a village and too big to be countryside. For centuries, families of farmers, strong and cheerful individuals, have been living here.

The valley is popular among tourists for its thermal baths. They usually arrive on a Friday evening and drive back home to Milan, Geneva or Lugano on a Sunday afternoon. Not many know that a few steps away you can stop for a picnic on the grass, visit a small chapel covered in bows or wander through the fields with Heidi and Peter.

It only took Peter Zumthor one visit to the area to be seduced by its beauty and to decide to set his Meraviglia project: build three houses that would reflect the same purity that distinguishes his works. One of these houses is already a holiday let, and a second one will be available at the end of this autumn. You will spot them immediately. At the beginning they will make you smile, so elegant and modern compared to the Welser’s farms. But then you will notice that, far from being out of place, they’re perfectly integrated with this enchanted mountain.


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