From the Isle of Skye to the ski resorts of Chamonix and Gstaad, a new book scales the world’s mountains to track down the breathtaking homes they host
The mountains have a powerful hold on us. The landscape is as unforgiving and extreme as it is dramatic and beautiful, whether enveloped in snow and shouldering ski lifts and resorts, or rough, rocky and remote, adorned only with dense forests. Only the sea can rival the feelings of reverence and awe inspired by mountains, argues Dominic Bradbury in his latest book, which explores and celebrates the allure of the world’s peaks – and the architects who have succeeded in building on such challenging terrain.
Mountain Modern is the work of Bradbury and photographer Richard Powers, and together they celebrate 25 contemporary homes in mountain settings around the world. Split into three categories – cabin, chalet and villa – the buildings are a mixture of escapist second homes, bases for winter sports and eco-friendly, back-to-nature dwellings that capitalise on the fresh air, mineral water and general health benefits of mountain living. Regardless of their purpose, they all share the same brief: to slot neatly into their surroundings and be a practical place for a modern lifestyle.
Such projects are daunting but rewarding, says Bradbury, and any architect willing to take them on has a wealth of existing properties and places to guide and inspire them. Take indigenous mountain dwellers. These are people who have lived with the landscape and really understand its limitations. Their durable homes, constructed from local timber and stone, are perhaps the best indication of how to thrive and survive structurally in the mountains. Similarly, renowned architects have forged the way for the next generation to approach the peaks, such as Turin-born Carlo Mollino, who built modernist chalets in the Italian Alps, or Charlotte Perriand, who tackled the French Alps with a series of apartments at Les Arcs.
This is just a taster, you can browse the full article with more stunning photography on pages 50-55, issue 99.Subscribe now
Words Rosie Duncan
Book Mountain Modern by Dominic Bradbury (Thames & Hudson, £19.95)
Photography Richard Powers