Switzerland Turmhaus

Alongside international clients, we developed a feasibility study to respectfully restore a historic building overlooking the crystal waters of Lake Thunersee in Oberhofen, Switzerland. Turmhaus, or “Tower House”, is located around the bend from the renowned Schloss Oberhofen, a historic landmark accentuated with successful modern additions, which serve as inspiration for the study. Turmhaus was originally built in 1862 by Anna von Pourtalés and functioned as a small hospital, providing 8-10 bright and airy rooms for patient use. The building has a long history of philanthropy, the Pourtalés family provided free medical care for those in need and set up a small children’s school on the ground floor. Until 2015, Turmhaus functioned as a medical facility, but since then has transitioned into a lakeside multifamily residential estate.

Turmhaus was thoroughly renovated in 1965, and again in 1993. 27 years later, this study aims to explore design strategies that would respectfully restore the Turmhaus property by extending the life of the existing building, modernizing its energy performance, and continuing to preserve its legacy. Carefully updating specific aspects of the building’s structure and detailing could not only add visual and aesthetic interest to the home, but also significantly update and older property with cutting-edge sustainable solutions.

New double-glazed doors and window systems will enhance views and inserting new skylights will invite natural light into the space while preserving the building’s historic charm. Replacing the existing veranda with a modern glass structure visually ties the home’s additions to nearby Schloss Oberhofen, and invites views of the lake, the castle, and the mountains beyond. Interior improvements, such as a dramatic and airy central staircase, open the home’s floor plan and instill residential sensibilities into the design.

LOCATION Oberhofen, Switzerland

Landscape Design: Thuilot Associates