A Cozy Tiny House in the Aosta Valley Alps

Erik Zaffuto, the visionary behind Zaffhaus, aimed to create a home that stood out from the rest while blending seamlessly with its surroundings. “I wanted my house to be different from others in terms of context, but at the same time not to resemble a cathedral in the desert,” he explains. As an avid mountain enthusiast, Zaffuto drew inspiration from the sturdy northern shelters that brave the harsh Alpine winters, guiding his design for this unique abode.

Curtain Wall Like a Second Skin

What immediately captures attention about Zaffhaus is the absence of a roof overhang, a bold design choice that enhances the building’s magnificence against the backdrop of Aymavilles and its historic castle. However, the house doesn’t just stand out—it harmonizes beautifully with its surroundings. This harmony is achieved through the curtain wall that is flush with the roof and closed eaves, creating a sleek, continuous line. The black PREFA DS.19 tiles blend elegantly with the surrounding greenery and woods, giving the structure a sophisticated look. These tiles seamlessly integrate with other materials such as local larch wood and plaster used for external insulation.

The DS.19 PREFA tiles bring a distinct visual character to the project. They can be installed both horizontally and vertically, starting from a 17° inclination, allowing for a continuous surface between the roof and facades. This design creates a second shell interrupted only by the larch timber cladding. The tiles are not only visually appealing but also offer significant resistance to weathering, essential in the Alpine environment.

Aesthetic Unity and Structural Integrity

The use of DS.19 PREFA tiles enabled Zaffuto to achieve a cohesive aesthetic unity between the roof and the facade, reminiscent of traditional aluminum tents. This approach ensures proper load distribution, enhancing the structure’s resistance to the environmental demands of mountainous areas. The result is a visually and structurally robust home that pays homage to its rugged setting while standing out as a modern architectural marvel.

Blending Sustainability, Functionality, and Economy

Zaffhaus is not just about aesthetics; it embodies innovation in sustainability, functionality, and economy. Erik Zaffuto masterfully combined his creative vision with practical considerations, crafting a home that maximizes space and livability. “I didn’t want to overdo it,” Zaffuto shares. “No major economic work was done. I focused on the essentials, creating a unique residence that fits the mountain context and my budget.”

Every detail of Zaffhaus was thoughtfully planned to enhance the living experience. The interior layout is designed for family life, featuring a spacious kitchen/dehors area with stunning views of the castle. The play of volumes covering the entrance creates an inviting open-air living space, while the balconies on the upper floors maintain the structure’s clean lines, offering panoramic views of the castle and surrounding landscape. The result is a harmonious blend of indoor and outdoor spaces that cater to modern living while respecting the natural environment.

Commitment to Environmental Sustainability

Environmental sustainability was a key focus for Zaffuto. The DS.19 PREFA tiles, made from secondary aluminum, are 100% recyclable without compromising quality. Energy efficiency is further enhanced by 18 photovoltaic panels, totaling 7KW, with accumulators mounted on the roof using PREFA fixing brackets. This setup makes the house 80% self-sufficient in energy, reducing its environmental footprint. Complementing this is a heat pump heating system and a wood stove, the latter a nod to traditional Alpine homes.

Zaffhaus stands as a testament to Zaffuto’s commitment to sustainability. The house not only minimizes its impact on the environment but also serves as an example of how modern design and eco-friendly practices can coexist. From the choice of recyclable materials to the integration of renewable energy sources, every aspect of the house reflects a dedication to preserving the natural beauty of the Aosta Valley.

A Family Home and Architectural Jewel

Zaffhaus is not just an architectural masterpiece; it is also Erik Zaffuto’s family home. It reflects the passion, creativity, and attention to detail of its inhabitants, standing as a true jewel in the heart of the Aosta Valley Alps. Zaffuto describes it as one of his most important projects, where creative and smart solutions achieve the best results within budget constraints. With over 15 years of cooperation with PREFA, Zaffuto chose their products for their reliability and his extensive product knowledge. He also relied on local suppliers and installers, selecting Dell’Innocenti Lamiere Srl as the supplier and Stefano Rean as the installer, both of whom have a decade-long collaboration with PREFA.

Zaffhaus, with its innovative design, sustainability, and functionality, is a testament to Zaffuto’s architectural prowess and his deep connection to the mountainous landscape he calls home. This cozy yet striking home is a perfect example of how thoughtful design and a commitment to sustainability can create a living space that is both beautiful and functional, standing out as a beacon of modern architecture in the Aosta Valley.

Photo of the Tiny House: Linfae

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