“Driving the winding Big Sur Coast Highway from Los Angeles to San Francisco in the summer of 2002, we observed how different the coniferous trees on one side of the road were from the other: inland, the trees stood upright and grew with symmetrical monumentality, while the windswept trees along the coast were bent over, deformed by the salty ocean spray and clinging to the impervious cliffs with their tangles of exposed roots. This landscape of difference symbolised an important concept for us: the seed, or archetypal idea, is the same for both trees, however, the specific conditions under which each seed grows forces them to adapt – the seeds are transfigured by their destined place of growth. Ideas in architecture are like seeds: they exist a priori, they sprout and flourish in different places and unexpected contexts throughout the centuries and, regardless of their innate sameness, achieve different outcomes”. This inquiry into the transformative nature of architectural ideas – that are both autonomous and conditioned by the environment – gives an insight into the way architects work and shows how stand-alone architectural ideas feed projects and break down their “otherness” in respect of South Tyrol, while at the same time making the Alpine landscapes of this area their own. Three projects (Ponte di Ghiaccio Mountain Lodge, Fischer House, and the St. Andrew School Complex) epitomise this ambiguous relationship with the site, tracing a series of architectural references, both modern and historical, to describe how these projects came into being without being specific to the “context”.