The project involves transforming a former building and constructing two new ones, whose setting creates a courtyard overlooking the Matterhorn. From outside, the very sober expression of the new volumes fosters their integration in the surrounding context. Inside, in contrast, bright colors highlight diversity and adventure.
The architects did no more than learn the lessons of tradition. How are the old Wallis houses positioned in the village? They are packed closely together, since cultivated land is so valuable. Both new buildings are therefore positioned close to the original house to form a small, enclosed square. All that is lacking in the village well. But the main architectural theme is the slope. The gables face the valley, which is another example of the architects following traditional examples. Building with the slope, not against it, means adapting to the slant rather than creating an artificial plane by digging off and heaping up. That is also a traditional practice. The controversial grey plaster facades give the two new buildings the appearance of hollowed out cliffs in which inviting, colorful light promises warmth and protection. The youth hostels transform from being an educational institution to a colorful chain of hotels with more contemporary facilities. The new buildings in Zermatt are an initial sign of such new development. Moreover in Zermatt, there are two types of houses: those with and without a view of the Matterhorn. Both youth hostel buildings look out onto the famous mountain.