Lumbrein is a largely historical village, a cluster of buildings in the Lumnezia, a side valley of the Anterior Rhine in Grisons. In 2009, Morger + Dettli constructed one of the smallest projects in their portfolio: House Trancauna. The property is located at the edge of the village. The house is set off the road in the middle of a field and is accessible only via the neighboring property. Dug into the sloping landscape by a walled courtyard, only the asymmetrical pitched roof is visible from the village, while a loggia protected by the roof opens out to the south. Balcony, living area and courtyard form a linear spatial sequence on the ground floor, whereas the monolithic dark brown-glazed concrete characterizes both interior and exterior. The bedrooms hidden in the roof are more intimate — nearly invisible from the outside — with daylight entering through zenithal hatches above.
Morger + Dettli have constructed an almost clandestine retreat, intimate and comfortable, whose dark walls enable precisely selected views of the village and the medieval tower dominating the Lumbrein landscape to appear even more prominently. Temporarily used rural barns found scattered on the valley slopes served as a formal reference for the building, which is also only occasionally inhabited. The architects consciously chose not to adapt historical constructions, but used contemporary materials without falling into the conventions of suburban, holiday-home architecture. The modest, unspectacular demeanor of the little house melds naturally into the village tableau. The successful ambivalence between tradition and modernity is the project’s appeal.
— Hubertus Adam
Although Morger + Dettli usually work on larger scale projects, in their exhibition they focus on their smallest project. The House Trancauna is exemplary of the Basler architects’ architectural understanding and, in this sense, is a manifest of their work. To convey the house’s atmosphere the gallery space is painted completely black, all eyes directed toward the pulsating movement on Karl-Marx-Allee, placed in contrast to the contemplative views of the landscape from the house in Grisons. (Photos: Ruedi Walti)