Nomination to Arc-Award The Swiss Architecture Prize
Project Year: 2018
Location: Zurich, Switzerland
The two three-story apartment buildings with five different apartments are nestled in a gently sloping south-west slope with a view of Zärichsee (Zurich Lake) and the mountains. Outwardly they look like a two-part sculpture made from one piece, that’s why they were named “twin houses”. The slightly sloping topography, the trapezoidal shape of the plot, and the requirements of the municipality-which only allow gabled houses in this area- presented a primary planning challenge. One of the houses was set back slightly to ensure the prescribed distance from the forest.
By dividing the design into two structures, a conscious reference to the small-scale development structure of the district, which is characterized by single-family houses, an ensemble of five different rental and owner-occupied apartments was created. A spacious garden area with covered seating is assigned to the ground floor apartments. The higher-lying apartments also benefit from spacious, partially covered outdoor areas with mountain and lake views.
The façades made of concrete, porcelain stoneware, and plaster as well as the gently sloping pitched roofs and wooden dormer windows create references to the forest and the rural surroundings. The distinctive hatches appear as independent cubic elements. Selected materials and colors repeat and contrast, creating a harmonious overall effect. From door and window handles to storage areas and glass back walls in the kitchens, great importance was attached to a well-thought-out overall concept and intrinsic value when choosing the materials and equipment. In the two 4½-room attic apartments, the maisonette gallery gives the entire living area an airy space with a loft atmosphere and also provides it with daylight. The skylights in the sloping roof above the kitchen and living area increase the cozy ambiance. Made-to-measure blinds also shade the angled windows on the pitched roof.