Building a Chalet with an architect in France: The guide
Chamonix, Courchevel, Méribel, Megève
Build your perfect chalet
Traditional wooden house found in the mountains, the chalet is an original and cosy habitat. The chalet can be built tailor-made, to everyone’s taste, so as to constitute a unique secondary or main residence. Modern, ecological or more rustic, build your chalet with the best architects.
What are the techniques for building a cabin?
1- The wooden framework: Different wooden elements make up the structure of the wall. This method saves space because the insulation, placed in the structure of the wall, occupies only a small thickness in the chalet. This technique offers a very efficient thermal insulation.
2 – Posts and beams: Posts installed vertically support beams installed horizontally. This technique forms the framework of the construction and allows freedom in the choice of shape and, volumes, it also allows the creation of larger openings. The wooden pieces can be made of glued laminated timber (which offers more resistance), or of solid wood.
3 – Stacked solid wood: this is the best known and oldest technique. The walls are built by stacking. The stacked pieces of wood can be timber with a rectangular finish, logs, which are smoother, or busts for a more rustic appearance. This method offers a very good thermal inertia.
What materials should I use to build my chalet?
The chalet is mostly made of wood, which gives it its charm and warmth. Regarding the type of wood, it will depend on your tastes and expectations.
Pine and spruce are among the cheapest and lightest woods, we can easily find them in France. Oak and beech are less affordable but they are very resistant and give a more cosy look to the chalet. An architect will be able to guide you in the choice of your wood, depending on the region, the climate, and your budget.
Other materials are also used. The foundations of chalets are often made of stone to bring stability to the construction, as mountain floors are very rarely flat. Bricks can also be used to fill in the structures.
1 -The choice of land
Probably the most complicated stage. The land should preferably be isolated to avoid the nuisance of neighbours, accessible, well exposed to take advantage of the best possible view and maximum sunshine, the relief must also be taken into account as the cost of the foundations will be impacted. BAM Archi offers you assistance in the search for land if you wish. Find our offers below.
2 - The chalet plan drawing
A chalet must be designed according to the typology of the land, the orientation and the use. That’s why you will find few “chalets on catalogue”. For a tailor-made chalet that meets your expectations, desires and tastes, an architect will start from all the needs in accordance with the Local Urban Planning Plan, then propose different shapes and materials for the chalet, finally he will refine the design by conceiving the interior plans to fit perfectly with your expectations.
3 - The building site and follow-up
It is preferable to opt for professional chalet builders if you choose a construction company. With BAM Archi the craftsmen who will work on your building site will be qualified craftsmen, experts to ensure you a building site in peace. Also, you won’t have to worry about the progress of the work, the architect will take care of it.
Why build a cabin?
The atmosphere: wood creates a warm and friendly atmosphere, this type of habitat has a very special charm that you will not find in other houses.
Durability: wood keeps very well, with a little maintenance (to avoid greying).
Excellent thermal insulation: wood retains heat and gives it back, it also regulates humidity. A wooden construction will therefore allow you to save energy.
the construction offer of BAM
A tailor-made service for your project
selection of the best architects
- Needs analysis
- Formatting of the specifications
- Organization of the architects’ tender process
- Organization of the consultation of construction companies
- Assistance in the signing of contracts
- Service Offered
Land research assistance
- Regulatory analysis of the field
- Definition of the building volume
- Different layout plans
- Definition of a budget envelope
- Assistance in choosing the right architect
- Price : 590€ TTC
organisation of an architectural competition
- Needs analysis
- Architectural programming documents
- Contest Rules
- Presentation of 5 to 10 architect portfolios
- Selection of agencies admitted to compete
- Reception of 2 to 5 house proposals
- Oral presentations of projects
- Designation of the laureate
- Price: On request
Above is an overview of the construction of a chalet by the studio Razavi in Manigod. On a surface of 200m2 for a budget of 450 000€, this family chalet is the transcription of the traditional model of superimposing functionalities. The architects therefore designed the house with a similar approach: car parking, technical room, ski room on the ground floor, bedrooms on the upper floor and living rooms on the top floor, creating a progressive experience in the building: from the darkest and most compact spaces to increasingly open and bright spaces, with high ceilings and wide views creating coherence inside and out.
What budget should I plan for the construction of a cabin?
The price of building a chalet depends on several things, such as the type of foundation, the wood chosen, the surface area of the chalet, the finishes, etc. In general, a wooden construction costs almost 10% more than a classic house (count 2000€/m2 for a classic house, or about 2200€/m2 for a chalet).
Megève, Courchevel, Chamonix, Méribel: zoom on the most prestigious areas where to build your chalet.
Megève is one of the most famous ski resorts. Land is scarce and therefore very expensive. Its ski area is known for its size and quality, and the resort for its luxury and international affluent clientele. Less than 10km from Megève, in villages full of charm such as Combloux, Sallanches or La Clusaz, there is more land available and more affordable.
With 600kms of ski slopes and 12 palaces, Courchevel is one of the most exclusive destinations in the world. The land is very rare and very popular, but exceptional. Nearby, Méribel is also a luxurious destination, but more discreet and with a more mountain character. Thus, the town has a strict architectural charter, which prohibits concrete and limits the size of the buildings to the size of an adult fir tree, in order to keep the charm of the village. It will therefore be very important to be accompanied by an architect who will be able to propose a chalet in accordance with the PLU. Less popular and more affordable, Valmorel remains a quality choice for the construction of your chalet.
Chamonix, close to the Mont Blanc, is also a luxury resort: casinos, luxury shops, palaces, it is a good place to live but again the land is very rare. In the surrounding area, such as Saint Gervais, Les Houches or Contamines, land is becoming a little more available and larger.
Val d’Isère is a village renowned for its sports and wellness facilities, with 300kms of ski slopes, the land is more affordable than in villages like Chamonix or Megève. You can also consider building in Tignes or Les Arcs, a resort partly built by the architect Charlotte Perriand.
Finally, villages such as Vars, Briançon, Serre Chevalier or Montgenèvre in the southern Alps are also destinations that are not lacking in charm, with plenty of land and fewer architectural constraints.