Swiss Chalet: Style Origins, Design Features and Rental Prices
Wooden chalets are a necessary attribute of the alpine landscape. With massive roofs and flowers on the balconies, these countryside dwellings seem to come out of a fairytale. SUISSEPIC had a look into the history of Swiss chalets and discovered some principles of construction that relate to these beautiful structures.
A chalet is styled as a luxurious countryside villa with a huge roof, balconies, and carved ornaments that originated in the late 18 century. However, the word “chalet” first appeared in Switzerland in Canton de Vaud in 1328 to describe the simple log cabins used by shepherds during the summertime. Since then, these structures have changed a lot.
The current design is said to have been created by English visitors of the Swiss Alps, who were inspired by alpine shepherd’s huts that were built in the 16th and 17th centuries. Those dwellings for big families of 30 people, who lived under one roof and kept cattle were romanticized and transformed a new architectural style. Soon afterwards, chalets became highly appreciated by noble landowners.
Current chalets have a basement and a ground floor constructed out of stone, while the first floor and the attic are made out of pinewood. The massive roofs protect the owners from snow and other unpleasant weather conditions, while the wood provides warmth inside the home. The roofs mostly have two-sloping sides, with an overhang as of 1.5 to 3 meters. The attics always have a beveled ceiling and small windows.
Chalets have long balconies, large windows, and the facades of the buildings are decorated with lots of folk ornaments or carvings. They look aesthetically wonderful and are aimed to increase useful footage, such as having a resting area in the summer.
A week of skiing in winter or hiking in summer in the Alps is a popular way to spend holidays especially for those who wish to escape from the big noisy cities. To split the expenses and reduce the accommodation costs, travelers often gather in groups to share one chalet. As a result, the price of renting a chalet of about 130 to 230 square meters for 6 people in the popular Swiss village of Verbier varies from about CHF 600 to CHF 2000 per week (according to alpenchalets.net). In comparison, a summer night at a chalet-style hotel in Verbier starts at, on average, about CHF 100 (according to booking.com).
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