25, October, 2009
Architect: Valerio Olgiati
Location: Flims, Switzerland
This house, unoccupied for twenty years, became popularly known as 'the yellow house' when it was refinished and painted yellow prior to its renovation. Originally a dwelling house owned by the Parish of Flims, in accordance with an agreement between the Parish and his father Rudorf, himself an architect, it had been supposed to be renovated in keeping with his own architectural precepts. Amongst other things, he stipulated that the house should be painted white and the roof should be finished with stone slabs.
After his father's death the Parish decided to turn it into an exhibition space. Since the intricate internal structure of the dwelling house was not suitable for the new purpose, we had to take rigorous 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, the roof was removed and replaced with randomly shaped stone slab. Windows and openings that were no longer needed were filled in; other 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 final coat of white, the finest of lime-washes, forms the outermost skin of the building. It conceals anything left unfinished. At the same time it points to a certain contradiction. The white lime-wash seems to turn the childlike archaism and animal substance of this structure into an abstract thought - which for its part gives the house itself the appearance of a 'vision'.