Le Rosey Boarding School

Carving a New Educational Hub into the Swiss Alps

We are big fans of vernacular architecture, the practice of reflecting the geographic and cultural context of the site and the neighboring area of a project. We love it as it not only requires a deep understanding of one’s surroundings but also results in designs that are eco-conscious and protective of local cultural values. 

It also helps that buildings made following this style are usually really cool to look at. So when Snøhetta reached out to us to help them bring to life a modern yet traditional boarding school in the Swiss Alps with photorealistic renders, we couldn’t have been more excited.    

The renowned Institut Le Rosey’s winter school is located in Gstaad, a true wonderland situated in the Swiss Alps. This quaint little town is the luxurious seasonal home to many ski enthusiasts and their lucky children, learning the sciences and the arts surrounded by glowing snow, lush pine trees, and beautifully weathered chalets. 

In 2021, a competition was announced to develop concepts for a new building that is much more efficient and spectacular than the old campus, yet maintains the distinct charm and warmth of the snowcapped valley. This is the point when we stepped in to help win over the jury with convincing architectural visualization. Spoilers: our mission was successful.

A multi-round architectural competition meant frequent changes in the design with only a few parts remaining untouched throughout the long process, like its overall position within the landscape, sitting between a train station and a small forest. And the fact that it had to be a winter scene, of course.

First, we had to settle on a mood and lighting that struck a balance between the harshness of cold weather and the inviting nature of a well-heated wooden house. Then we mainly had to showcase the unique timber construction using untreated local larch trees on the exterior renderings, and a warm and cozy atrium space on the interiors. 

The constantly redesigned 3D models meant that our artists had to finetune or completely redo the interior objects, the lighting, the people, the Photoshop masking, and even the snow that was hand-painted from scratch with each iteration. 

As a last step, we experimented with the angles to maximize the visibility of the trees in the immediate background of the school. 

The attention to detail has really paid off: the project has scored a win and will finally come to fruition with the new boarding school campus getting built in the following years, welcoming a fresh batch of doe-eyed students ready to bask in the warm before heading out to conquer the Alpine slopes.


Gstaad, Switzerland



Mariia Lazaryk
Mohamed Atef
Bence Falussy



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