Arsenal B47, from munitions shed to modern cabin | Ralph Germann
From the outside, Arsenal B47 looks like an ordinary mountain cabin. However it has an interesting history. Despite Switzerland’s neutrality during the Second World War, the country had every reason to expect a German invasion as Hitler had expressed his goal of annexing all the German-speaking parts of Europe into a “Greater Germany”.
The Swiss army didn’t expect to be able to hold off the much larger German army at the country’s borders, but it made plans for an orderly retreat into the Alps where the terrain would give them an advantage. Fortifications were constructed and supplies stockpiled high in the mountains. B47 was built at that time to store weapons and ammunition.
Decades later, B47 was privately owned. The owner wished to use the building as living space but at the same time wanted to preserve its history. Architect Ralph Germann came up with the idea of building a glazed box within B47’s walls. The glass walls were set a couple of feet back from three of the original walls, while storage and a fireplace were built against the fourth wall. The glass walls improved the thermal performance of the structure and allowed a modern cabin to be built inside without altering the original walls.
The completed cabin has 49 m2 (527 ft2) of studio living space within the glass walls. Inside the glass box there is yet another box, this one made of wood. The kitchen, dining, living and bedroom areas are arranged around it. The wood box itself houses kitchen storage, a Murphy bed with flanking bookshelves, and a half-bath. There is a separate shower compartment against the outside wall of the bedroom area. Double doors in the outer wall open the living space to breathtaking alpine views.
Have a great weekend!
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