French Alpine Architecture, Val d’Isere Holidays, Avoriaz Ski, France Alps Buildings
Architecture Adventures in The French Alps
20 May 2020
Blending new buildings into existing urban landscapes can be challenging – especially if a new project is surrounded by older buildings and subject to stringent planning conditions.
But achieving the right aesthetic balance in natural environments might be even more exacting – especially in areas of outstanding natural beauty. Get things right here and the building and its surroundings enhance each other and elevate the entire vista, but get it wrong and your project will stick out like a proverbial sore thumb.
The French Alps is a pristine canvas where some of the world’s best architects and engineers have managed to successfully merge built environments with magnificent mountains. And once lockdown eases, an architectural adventure here lets you see some stunning buildings up close and personal – let’s take a look.
Fashionable Val d’Isere has grown significantly over the years, but it’s still managed to retain its authentic Alpine village charm.
Modern apartment buildings and older agricultural and rustic structures sit alongside each other reasonably comfortably, thanks to many of the newer buildings incorporating design elements that hark back to a bygone era, like distinctive gable roofs and balconies.
You’ll also find old and new chalets here, constructed in the traditional manner with organic materials like wood and stone – proving that great design never goes out of style.
Tip: check out Chalet Val d’Isere by AndArchitects for an excellent example of contemporary design.
Continue your Alpine architectural tour in Avoriaz – you’ll find unique architecture here, mainly thanks to the efforts of the visionary Jacques Labro, one of the pioneers of design that imitates the natural surroundings.
In 1961, Labro and his creative collaborators Jean-Jacquez Orzoni and Jean-Marc Roques founded the Architectural Workshop of Avoriaz and started the process of designing a car-free, 209,000 square foot ski resort of the future, discarding the shapes and lines they usually worked with and using the mountain topography as their blueprint.
Today you’ll see that each building has its distinct silhouette and dimensions and chimes perfectly with the contours of the surrounding landscape. The project was so successful that Labro’s plans are still consulted to this day whenever a new build is planned here, to ensure that the integrity of his inspirational vision is maintained.
Tip: want to see Avoriaz for yourself? Chat to Alpine ski holiday experts Erna Low.
These two terrific resorts are merely the tip of the iceberg when it comes to Alpine architecture. As you trek, ski and snowboard around the region, you’ll see stunning examples of everything from Bauhaus and brutalist buildings to traditional Savoyard styles.
And if you combine the architecture with the amazing design and engineering that’s infused in everything from complex ski lift systems to bridges spanning treacherous passes, inspiration lurks around every corner!
Whenever you can, explore this beautiful area for yourself – you won’t regret it.
Comments on this guide to Architectural Adventures in The French Alps article are welcome.
Location: Haute-Savoie, France
New Buildings in France
French Architectural Projects
French Architecture Design – chronological list
Chalet Dag, Chamonix-Mont-Blanc, Haute-Savoie, France
Design: Chevallier Architectes
photograph : Alexandre Mermillod Onixstudio.com
Chalet Dag in Chamonix – French Alps Property
Espace Killy Chalet Husky, Val d’Isere, Espace Killy mountain range, French Alps
Design: Jean-Charles Covarel
photograph © Athena Advisors
Chalet Husky, Val d’Isere – French Alps Accommodation
Refuge du Goûter, Saint Gervais Les Bains, France
Design: Déca-Laage + Groupe-H
photo : Gudrun Bergdahl
Refuge du Goûter
Another spectacular Alps Building on e-architect:
“Hut of the Future”
Design: ETH Zurich and the Swiss Alpine Club (SAC)
photo : ETH-Studio Monte Rosa/Tonatiuh Ambrosetti
Neue Monte Rosa Hut
Comments / photos for the Architectural Adventures in The French Alps page welcome