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Swiss chalet style

Swiss chalet style (German: Schweizerstil, Norwegian: Sveitserstil) is an architectural style of Late Historicism, originally inspired by rural chalets in Switzerland and the Alpine (mountainous) regions of Central Europe. The style refers to traditional building designs characterised by widely projecting roofs and facades richly decorated with wooden balconies and carved ornaments. It spread over Germany, Austria-Hungary and Scandinavia during the Belle Époque era.

Characteristics of the Swiss style

Highlighting the building material and the tree’s properties, but often in the form of unpainted moldings and tinting colors
Detailed decor with leafy cutouts
High ground wall and tall crossroad windows
Large ceilings in the rooms
Large roof tiles that would protect the artificial carved details against wind and weather
Protruding gables with foliage or other decor
Glass verandas, balconies, gavel twists and a rich decorative exterior moldings emphasized with contrasting colors
Colored and patterned glass, especially in exterior doors and glass verandas
Constructive joints such as posts, beams and barriers were highlighted, often also colorful
Often spire and tower
floor Tape
Swiss houses can also be characterized by other building styles like dragon style or Art Nouveau style


The Swiss era in Norway occurred at the same time as national romance and at the start of a rise time for sailing ships , shipbuilding, industry and commerce. Most houses were still built in wood constructions, but after new architectural ideals. Despite the fact that the Swiss style originated in Germany and was inspired by popular construction practices in the alpine lands , it was welcomed in Norway as a tool in the nation building. Because it broke with the classical language of speech based on brickwork that had dominated Norwegian wood architecture, one saw the Swiss style as a starting point for the development of a “national tree”.

The decorative elements of the Swiss style were mostly crafted, with the foliage as an important tool. From around 1860, steam pipes and planes could deliver plowed and profiled panels in standard dimensions, and eventually the woodworking companies could rationalize the production of building parts with rich, resource-intensive decor. This also made it possible to manufacture building parts in series, and at the end of the period three factories were established for the production of finished goods as catalog products, based on plankelaft .

The style originated in Germany with inspiration from the Alps, where the architects found beautiful mountain scenery and a building style with rich carvings that suited themselves as a model for a new wood architecture. These properties made the Swiss style also regarded as suitable for Norwegian conditions, and it was quickly imported into Norway and eventually submerged. Many architects were educated at German universities and gained knowledge of the new three-way. Study trips to Austria , Switzerland and Italy were also undertaken to study the settlement.

The first buildings in Norway
In Norway, the Swiss style was introduced by architect Linstow , who believed that the dominant neoclassisism with a formative language derived from the stone architecture fits poorly for Norwegian wooden houses. Therefore, he believed that there was a need for a new building style for small wooden houses. This could be based on the traditional wooden houses in the countryside. He found similarities between these and the construction of the Bavarian Highlands. This inspired him to utilize the new German triple to buildings that were not pure copies of these specimens, but were more refined. Gardens guard building at the castle in Oslo, Henrik Wergeland’s nearby villa The cave and Linstow’s own residence in Wergelandsveien were some of the first buildings in this style.

Linstow also made typing drawings for worker housing that could be serial produses.

Eilert Sundt
A spokesman for this construction was also Eilert Sundt . He traveled around the countryside and studied the living conditions and the construction industry, and thought that if the farmers began to build in this style, they would bring in more light and air and thus healthier homes. For example, he referred to the newly built farmhouse on the farm Hoff in Aker .

Sundt writes in 1862 in the book about the building custom on the country in Norway about:

… the so-called Swiss houses, which in recent years have been built on some of the city’s loops. It seems as if these architects have left Swiss houses (I do not know if this is actually the correct name, but the audience calls them) should become the dominant houses here in the country
He also believes that the houses will be spread throughout the country, something he got right in.

Thus, as I said, I think that the so-called Swiss style will go as a fashion through the towns, to acknowledge the superiority of the architects.
He further believes that the buildings are a step forward:

It is one of the many advances that the present day is pleased with in Norway as well, that we have got a class of architects, artistically trained builders whose subjects and honor is to build houses that deserve to be taken model and pattern all landed, appropriate, cozy, beautiful. But it is a natural expectation that the true builder will use his art to develop and process the country’s earlier and so-called naturally-expanded building practice, and therefore it must at least draw attention to the fact that the timber-style of construction now the architects drawing board, in some parts differs from the old Norwegian way and therefore, as stated, by the volume usually referred to as Swiss houses. Is it the architect’s fault that has not given greater importance to the Norwegian building practice? Or is it that in itself it is too poor, so a stranger must be planted?
But as it appears from the last part of the quote, he was also worried that the old Norwegian construction would be lost and wished the architects to further develop this.

Design of the buildings
Initially, the Swiss-style houses had a symmetrical floor plan, often a cross-section with a veranda in the center. But gradually an asymmetric ground plan and building mass became more common. Originally the ceiling angle was low, but it gradually increased to get loft with greater room height and the possibility of large windows that gave more light and air in the rooms.

The decorative equipment makes it easy to recognize the style. The relatively smooth plow panel was enriched with elaborate border and moldings, friezes and ornaments placed under the roof edges, around the windows or in the corners on the facades. The Swiss style also followed characteristic colors that broke with older traditions. Color samples taken from facades show that it was common with three colors, one main color and two others to highlight details. White gradually became a dominant color, also in the countryside, and this changed the cultural landscape, where the farmhouses had previously been unpainted or painted with earth colors.

Building Types
The Swiss style was used in many building types. Initially, the style was used for houses in a rural setting, but it was also spread through the railroad architecture. The road network was expanded, and new steamers were introduced into scheduled traffic. Towards the end of the 1800s, tourist traffic increased dramatically. This meant that there was a need to build new hotels .

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The cave, designed for Henrik Wergeland by architect Linstow, was one of the first examples of a Swiss-style village villa. It was listed above an artificial cave, made by building a vault with a cantilever opening over a quarry. The house of paneled carvings has a brick roof with large roof beams. In addition to the Cave, Linstow designed a guard building for Garden , a manor house and three porter houses in the new tree.

In Bergen, some wooden villas were built in the 1870s: Albert Grans villa from 1872 at the foot of the Kalfarbakken and Hans Grans villa from 1873 on the top of the hill was designed by Peter Andreas Blix . The buildings have gables and bay windows and give a tight, massive effect. Originally, they were painted in an oak color with deep brown beans.

A slightly larger villa was listed for Georg Gade by architect Thrap-Meyer in 1868 . This is a characteristic villa type with two gables. It is located in a large garden with gazebo.

It was also built stately buildings in Swiss style in many of the towns and especially along the Glommavassdraget. The main building at Melgården in Østerdalen was listed for landlord TN Mykleby by architect Nestor Georgius Thomassen in 1877 .

Railway architecture
The Swiss style was used in a number of new station buildings as the rail network in Norway was built in the years the style was at its most dominant. The railway stations were seen as an expression of the visible presence of state power in the towns, and therefore, they wanted an architecture that was of such a good quality that the Norwegian state could be acquainted with it. The station buildings had waiting rooms for the travelers with restrooms, and they could have living rooms for the service and for the station master and his family. Larger station buildings could also have a cafe or restaurant.

Railway workers who worked in Swiss style were Georg Andreas Bull , the state railroad architect from 1863 to 1872 . He was followed by Conrad Balthazar Lange who worked on railway architecture in the years 1878 – 1883 . Paul Due , who was employed in the state railways from 1891 to 1910 , produced about 2000 building drawings.

The spread of Swiss style in the railway buildings made it spread throughout the country and continued there until the late 1900s .

A number of new hotels were raised during the period. In the beginning, older skies were built in Swiss style to provide housing space for the rising tourist flood.

In new buildings, one tried to develop a new typology. The oldest group from the 1880s had a rectangular building with saddle roof, entrance to the center of the longest facade, and a continuous passage in the longitudinal direction of the building with rooms on both sides. Eventually you added a covered veranda on the long side.

The next phase of development was reflected in a transverse center of the building body and a larger porch. Later came two crossings, both with porches, and these did not have to be symmetrical. Often one gable could be wider or have a steeper ceiling than the other. This was done to get variety in the facade.

Fleischers hotel at Voss opened in 1889 and was in a style of style, designed by architect Peter Andreas Blix . He also designed Hotel Mundal in Fjærland. This hotel is also made of wood in a mixture of Swiss and dragon style with around the tower and porch.

Dalen Hotel , designed by architect Haldor Larsen Børve , was built in 1894 , also in a mixture of wicker and dragon style.

One of Norway’s largest wooden buildings is Kviknes Hotel in Balestrand from 1894, designed by Franz Wilhelm Schiertz , also in a mix style. This is also found in Villa Fridheim in Krødsherad, built in the years 1890 – 1892 after drawings by architect Herman Major Backer . This building was originally a villa, but was later used as a hotel.

Criticism of the Swiss style
Eilert Sundt had not only been a spokesman for the Swiss style; He had also been worried about how it would be with the Norwegian construction industry.

Architect Herman Major Schirmer thought that wood as a building material had a potential, but he encouraged young architects to travel around the countryside and study the old way of building, so to use this one. Architect Frederik Ludvig Konow Lund went on thinking that houses were to be built according to a practical plan and without wrinkles, knocked ornaments, and introduced strangers.

Tone-deciding architects after the turn of the century followed the demands of Schirmer and other advocates to develop a more nationally anchored wood architecture. The Swiss style was soon abandoned after 1900 by the architects after an interlude with a certain interest in dragon style and Art Nouveau style . The architectural contest in 1907 about the King Villa at Voksenkollen by Kristiania was the breakthrough for a new national romantic architecture with models in the 1700s panel architecture and the country-house laftehus. Especially the second prize draft by architects Ole Sverre and Arnstein Arneberg became the guide. But in popular construction, the Swiss style continued to exist until 1920.

Source From Wikipedia