Villa Stoffel is a stunning 64-year-old architectural masterpiece of Otto Glaus, a Swiss architect trained by Le Corbusier. Timelessly modern, with original furniture and traces of his garden design, it is considered an object of cultural importance. After over a decade on the market, the house was discovered by Vera Purtscher who completely “fell in love” with it. The renovation of such delicate and precious object required a lot of investment and care, but Vera saw it as a challenge and an opportunity to give this stunning house a new life, making it a home for herself and her family.
Villa Stoffel was built for the Stoffel family in 1954/55. It is an outstanding example of modern architecture and the work of Otto Glaus (1914- 1996), a former employee of Le Corbusier and one of the most important representatives of the more recent architecture history.
Glaus was one of the most versatile protagonists of Swiss architecture in the years after the Second World War. After his apprenticeship in the architecture office of Le Corbusier and his studies at the ETH Zurich, he developed his very own functionalist design expression.
In many of his buildings, he also designed equipment as part of the architecture. Some of his most important works are the apartment building Riesbacherhof in Zurich, chemical factory Hausmann AG in St. Gallen and the “Aeroporto” in Lugano-Agno.
With an assignment from the Hans Stoffel, Otto Glaus was given the opportunity to build a family house according to his ideas, with a sole condition to do so by following “the latest technical knowledge”. So he chose wave fiber cement and a combination of unplastered brick for the load-bearing walls with smooth natural gray fiber cement plates as a cladding of parapets.
The entire mass of the building and the furniture Glaus designed correspond in every detail to the “Modulor” by Le Corbusier. His choice of dimensional harmony at Villa Stoffel caused him to deal with the laws of harmony in all his later buildings.
The timeless modernity of the Villa Stoffel is reflected in its lighting, its proportions and a very precise choice of materials. The entire setting, the garden, the exterior and interior design and the use of the most advanced contemporary materials, form an outstanding and modern house, which was facing destruction.
With a very careful renovation of the entire house and the garden and by repurposing some areas, it gained new life and appreciation, which took time, intense effort and close collaboration with the Monument protection authorities in St. Gallen.
Photo credits: ©Faruk Pinjo.