House ERG by Ralph Germann Architectes

Located in Montreux, Switzerland, House ERG is a modern single family house was completely redesigned by Ralph Germann Architectes.

Minimalist living room with wooden floors, neutral-toned sofa, and natural light from windows.
Spacious modern interior with wood floors, fireplace, dining area, and minimalist furniture.
Minimalist kitchen with wooden table, leather chairs, and a large window overlooking greenery.
Minimalist kitchen design featuring concrete countertops, wooden cabinetry, and large windows.
A modern, minimalist kitchen with a concrete countertop and wood-framed cabinets.
A cozy living space with a modern wood-burning stove, warm wood accents, and a minimalist design aesthetic.
Minimalist interior with wooden panels, white furniture, and large windows.
An open-plan living space with a wood-burning stove, bookshelves, and decorative rug.
A spacious, minimalist bedroom with wooden floors and recessed lighting.
Wooden exterior with glass doors opens to a wooden deck and lush greenery.
A rustic Alpine cabin with a slanted roof, wooden exterior, and a lush garden surrounding it.

About House ERG

Designed in 1911 for railroad workers connecting Montreux to the Rochers-de-Naye, this modest house uses large stone blocks found in the rail’s excavation. Built on a sloping hillside with a terraced garden, it offers breathtaking views of the Alps, Lake Geneva, and the Riviera.

Architectural Transformation

Architect Ralph Germann, the first tenant and later owner, renovated the building. The external facades show visible signs of transformation. The renovation kept only the central staircase with its walnut and wrought iron fence from the original design. This staircase, initially serving three apartments, now connects all floors into a single unit.

Innovative Design Solutions

To connect the levels, the architect opened the load-bearing walls in the staircase to insert concrete elements built on site. These concrete openings provide heat and sound insulation while allowing heat, light, and sound to pass, enabling family communication across floors. These cavities also serve as storage spaces.

Functional Living Spaces

The ground floor features the living room and kitchen, connected to the garden. The master bedroom is centrally located, while the children occupy the top floor.

Open and Multifunctional Design

The 80m² (861 sq ft) parental floor is an open, multifunctional space. The architect prefers open spaces with minimal furniture and few doors, using discreet built-in cupboards. Sliding doors, where necessary, disappear into the walls, leaving the space completely open.

A wood stove stands opposite a workbench on the ground between the floating bed and the open shower. A thin wooden screen designed by the architect barely separates the bathtub, positioned in the middle of the room, from the window overlooking the lake and the Alps.

Craftsmanship in the Kitchen

On the ground floor, craftsmen built a 5.6m (18.4 ft) long concrete kitchen island, appearing to float 8 cm (3.1 in) above the ground. Storage spaces and appliances integrate directly into this large cube. The original windows, now thin vertical openings, showcase the beautiful surrounding landscape.

Photography by Lionel Henriod

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- by Matt Watts