The Megevan architectural landscape is as rich as it is varied. You just have to walk through the streets of the village and surrounding paths to notice it and discover here and there, a traditional farm, a Henry-Jacques Le Meilleur chalet, a contemporary construction... A cohabitation which is going wonderfully and which bears witness to of the architectural history of the village.

In Megève, architecture meets art

Until the 20s, Megève, then of agricultural tradition, housed large mountain farms. The volumes were organized in a functional way with a part reserved for the dwelling, a floor for the hay and the rest of the surface for the animals. Typology of the land, climatic constraints, practicality, at the time natural common sense was essential to define the construction. The function then making the form.

The installation of the architect Henry Jacques Le Même in the village marked a turning point in its visual and architectural identity. In 1927, with the construction of the Chalet de la Baronne de Rothschild, he created the first “Chalet-skieur”, comfortable, functional and largely open to the surrounding landscapes. His starting point, the vernacular habitat which inspired him to build buildings meet the requirements of modernity. Then under the influence of Le Corbusier, he uses concrete which offers the possibility of complicated and studied forms. Thus, in Megève, he erected a plethora of chalets but also hotels, schools, shops...


A unique architecture, between innovation and tradition

In his alpine work, which illustrates his know-how grappling with the savoir-vivre of his clientele, he was able to perfectly associate the novelty and the spirit of the time with the immutable imperatives of construction in the mountains.

The 80s marked the return of a trend towards the authentic and the traditional, a movement that lasted between 20 and 30 years. Old wood, small openings and windows, inlaid patterns… We undeniably tended towards the rustic. But whereas up to now, we paid little attention to energy consumption, there has been a real awareness of climate problems, which have become a major issue for future generations. We then began to consider constructions in a much more reasoned way.

So over the past ten years, it is not uncommon to see very contemporary chalets with large bay windows spring up. They have a double advantage, opening onto the outside to enjoy the magnificent surrounding landscapes and using the sun as a source of energy in its own right; the 2012 Thermal Regulations also require a maximum supply of natural heat.

While honey and brown colors were once legion, wood treatment today offers many possibilities: brushed, split, heated, stained in grey, black... Wood is of course very present in chalets but used in a very purified. Leather, stainless steel, black metal, sandblasted glass, granite and contemporary stones…. We no longer hesitate to mix it with very modern materials, in spaces that are much less compartmentalised.

The constructions are constantly evolving and adapting to our lifestyles and seem to reflect a desire on the part of the architecture and the village to open up to the world.

Was this content useful to you?