Tom Munz Architekt

Residential House In Fürstenland

- Niederhelfenschwil SG - Switzerland

The basic idea for the residential house in Fürstenland is based on the typology of a farm complex. Purist forms, natural materials and a coherent structure are themes that run through the design of the entire house. The building plot is on the edge of town and directly adjoins an agricultural zone. The site offers an uninterrupted view of the Säntis mountain range to the south, and its development provides for a style of construction in keeping with the rural context. This includes a traditional, evenly proportioned gabled roof -­ a common feature of the regional architecture. From discussions with the private developers, Tom Munz came up with the design for a farm-­like structure. The use of the two-­part, L-­shaped main body of the structure creates a protected inner courtyard with delightful visual points of reference and an appealing element of privacy. Here, the carport is directly connected to the entrance area and permits a direct and sheltered
connection to the house.

Inside and out
The coherent concept corresponds with the restrictions that apply to the development plan. The even-­sided gabled roof and the clear figure of the main body of the building help to create a progressive home inspired by the rural architecture and with nuanced points of reference to the outside. The outside and inside of the house are designed as one consistent design unit that is reflected in all areas right down to the fittings and the surfaces. The spatial sculpture -­ outside dark, inside light -­ extends through the whole house like a protective shell. Here the interior was designed as a response to the surreal spatial exterior of the district and withdraws into itself in order to give the essential points of reference to the outside space the force they require.

The three-­storey house is divided into living, sleeping and studio levels. Since the plot is only slightly inclined and there was no request for a cellar, costly excavations could be avoided. The spatial structure with its split level creates surprising residential worlds. Hence the entrance area and the kitchen are on the first floor. From the kitchen, to the northwest you can cross the terrace with its covered seating area to access the spacious inner courtyard with its gravel section and play lawn. On the lower level there is a spacious living area with areas for dining and relaxing. The central storage heater generates cosy warmth right up through the nine-­metre-­high dining area, which links up to the studio level in the form of a space-­ consuming wooden sculpture. The workshop and utility area leads into the garden in an easterly direction.

Sensory qualities of nature
The facade is constructed from wooden elements. The oil-­treated wooden slats scorched with dark pigments clad the main body of the building in a rich black shell -­ a wooden construction that was developed in cooperation with regional artisans. Where privacy needs to be guaranteed, the horizontal wooden slats obscure any view in through the windows and conjure up attractive silhouettes in the interior. The rooms inside were clad in plywood panels from French pines. The rough-­grained look creates a lively ambiance with varying patterns, whilst the black concrete floors, as an element of calm, create a suitable contrast. The kitchen units too are made using plywood and are varnished white. Just like all the doors and fittings, they were designed by the architects and were produced specially for the house.

The house shows consistent and functional architecture with a high level of construction quality. The materials are simple and honest. The contemporary interpretation of the local style, with its direct reference to the environment, creates a strongly atmospheric impression. This sensitive yet bold development has given rise to a house with thrilling contrasts. Structured and angular from the outside, soft and lively inside.

 

Key data

Location: Niederhelfenschwil SG
Type: New build
Status: Realised
Project phases: Planning and implementation
2014–2015
Developer: Private

Planning team
Architect: Tom Munz GmbH, St.Gallen
Construction management: Eggel & Partner AG, St.Gallen
Construction engineers: Furrer + Partner AG, Wil

Project data
Plot size: 688 m2
Developed area: 156 m2
Floor space: 320 m2
Building volume: 1211 m3

Image material
Picture credits: Tom Munz Architekt, Katja Rudnicki

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