A house for a somnambulist
Architects: Ana Rita Vale, André Calvete
Client: Private
Status: Academic
Location: Wolfenschiessen, Switzerland
Coordinates: 46.869031, 8.430652
Climate: Oceanic / maritime, Temperate
Material: Concrete
Environments: Mountain, Riverside
Visualizer: Studio
Scale: 130 ㎡ Small
Types: House, Residential

He knows his condition, the somnambulism has been a side of himself. Since early, he wanders across the aisles, unconsciously choosing his paths, the same ones he walks throughout his daily routine.

These temporary episodes became to seem relevant to the people who surrounded him. Their frequency was increasing and his exposure to unpredictable risks was being a part of everyone’s nighttime. Gradually, with the help of his family, he started to deal with the disorder. He found out more about the subject, such as taking more attention to the sleep environment, to the way he could organize the bedroom and clearing its access and its surroundings.

Located in the center of the dark bedroom, the bed shall be easy to find and to get up from. He knows that at some point during his sleep he would get up and reproduce, in a period from 5 minutes to half an hour, some of the walkings and paths he chose while awaken.At the end, he doesn’t remember where he was or what he actually did. That could be just a dream, or some kind of mirrored reality.


The house is meant to be a retreat, a quiet place away from the usual urban routine, located on the Bannalpsee lakeshore, in Switzerland. The client is well aware of his condition, he wants to settle his personal space in a peaceful environment, protected by the mountains, surrounded with grandiose trees, where the natural elements gather to provide the most adequate and harmonious atmosphere. Bounded by earth and water, the house negotiates between the safety and vulnerability, while its occupant deals with the duality of both day and night experiences, along with the exposure to the risk and the inevitable need to return to a safe place.


Common knowledge refers each house is singular, its soul is the reflection of its inhabitants. The idea of a house for a somnambulist shall be according to himself, there must exist an intrinsic relationship between his needs and the spaces he apprehends.

Every step he takes is important, his house is his own path, a system designed to go along with his actions. As a child, one episode occurred every night. The family walked alongside with him and watched the innocent child going to avoid any misfortune, making sure he would return safe to bed. Currently, his family is not around. In this isolated environment he lives only with his condition.

The interior of the programme is the necessary for a daily basis, although its space organization has been designed to this particular case. Somnambulists often walk outside their resting area; taking that into consideration, there is one feature that always leads the client to a bedroom. Inspired by the basic technology of the see-saw, the middle element of the house changes differently during daytime and nighttime, manual and automatic mode.

At day hours, the entrance reveals itself when he arrives, leading him wherever he chooses to go, whether the living room / kitchen area or any bedroom in the lower level. Moments after he goes to bed, the system switches to auto mode; when he starts to sleepwalk and attempts to reproduce the same paths he did to reach the upper floor, the system detects his movements and gently guides him towards the nearby bedroom.

Post date: 05/11/2015 | Views: 3.805