Simply beautiful

What is beautiful is often quite simple. Then nothing distracts, then you can linger. Gion A. Caminada is a master of this simple beauty and beautiful simplicity. The architect from Vrin senses what makes a location or an old house special. And he knows how to reinterpret a location or a house without distorting its character.

In the meantime Gion A. Caminada has become a famous architect who has received many awards for his approach to the historical and alpine building culture. He renovated the Hotel & Guesthouse Alpina years ago. It has remained modern and above all: authentic.

The Alpina conversion 2001

As basis for the conversion of the hotel, the architect, together with his students of the ETH Zurich, examined the village centre of Vals for its particular features. The terrace in front, part of the once typical alpine "geranium architecture“, was recognised as a foreign body and was removed. Now the hotel, with its deep soffits and its wood-frame windows stands directly on the village square as if by natural law.

The facade appears modern - yet it blends almost seamlessly into the historical surroundings of the church and the blockhouses.


Since the renovation by Gion A. Caminada, the Alpina has exuded a discreet, noble aura that prevails over the square in a restrained manner. The entrance area is dominated by the Valser stone slabs, the oak wood floor and the cubic reception counter. The dining restaurant on the second floor, also modern and in oak, maintains a balance between a formal and a casual atmosphere. The twelve redesigned guest rooms impress with their warm, stylish simplicity.

The Alpina Vals

Gion A. Caminada

from Vrin, a village in the neighboring valley of Lugnez not far from Vals

  • Carpentry apprenticeship
  • School of Applied Arts
  • Postgraduate studies at the ETH Zurich
  • Architectural office in Vrin

  • since 1998 Assistant Professor for Architecture and Design at the ETH Zurich
  • since 2008 Associate Professor for Architecture and Design at the ETH Zurich
  • since 2020 Full Professor of Architecture and Design at the ETH Zurich

Awards among others:

  • German Critics Award
  • Meret Oppenheim Prize
  • Culture Prize of the Canton of Graubünden
  • Global Award for Sustainable Architecture
  • SAB Prize of the Swiss Working Group for the Mountain Region
  • Bruckmann Environmental Prize, Munich
  • Federal Prize for Fine Art (Swiss Art Award)
  • International Prize for New Building in the Alps
  • Recognition Award of the Government of Grisons 

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