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Sumit Singhal
Sumit Singhal
Sumit Singhal loves modern architecture. He comes from a family of builders who have built more than 20 projects in the last ten years near Delhi in India. He has recently started writing about the architectural projects that catch his imagination.

House with one wall in Zurich, Switzerland by Christian Kerez Zürich AG

 
April 28th, 2015 by Sumit Singhal

Article source: Christian Kerez Zürich AG 

A two-family house is a building with a wall that divides it into two halves. The dividing wall is the only wall in the entire house. It cannot be crossed anywhere. It has to fulfill functions conventionally assigned to several architectural elements. It is the load bearing structure and the installation core, its folds define all of the rooms and it determines how the view from the entirely glazed building is divided between the two living units. The simplicity of the concept, the reduction of the architecture to a single element, creates substantial dependence and, in turn, makes the building very complex. It is only through that dependence that the wall acquires a compelling and cogent character although, in itself, it can follow any chosen course.

Exterior_Walter_Mair, Image Courtesy © Christian Kerez Zürich AG

Exterior_Walter_Mair, Image Courtesy © Christian Kerez Zürich AG

  • Architects: Christian Kerez Zürich AG
  • Project: House with one wall
  • Location: Zurich, Switzerland
  • Project team: Jürg Keller, Andreas Skambas, FumikoTakahama, Ute Burdelski, RyuichiInamochi
  • Structural Engineer: Dr. Schwartz Consulting AG, Zug, Joseph Schwartz
  • Facade: Krapf AG, St-Gallen
  • Construction Management: BGS, Rapperswil

Staircase_South_Walter_Mair, Image Courtesy © Christian Kerez Zürich AG

Staircase_South_Walter_Mair, Image Courtesy © Christian Kerez Zürich AG

The wall between the two units has folds in it so that it will not fall over, like folding a piece of paper so that it can stand on end. The folds are different from floor to floor. One room is concave, another convex. One room is open plan, another has sections. The shape of the wall is reversed in each of the flats – on one side a protruding bend, on the other a niche; on one side a wide space, on the other a narrow one.

Staircase_North_Walter_Mair, Image Courtesy © Christian Kerez Zürich AG

Staircase_North_Walter_Mair, Image Courtesy © Christian Kerez Zürich AG

Every storey consists of one long room. Despite limited floor space, the elongated rooms seem spacious. They are expansive in an extremely economic way. That explains why the building looks much smaller from the outside than from the inside. There is only one area in the entire house that is completely closed off: the bathroom. But it too emerges from the logic of the folded wall. The room-height sliding door of the built-in wardrobe placed in front of it is a continuation of the wall slice. Neither wardrobe nor bathroom interrupts the progress of the wall; instead they expand and multiply it.

L02_South_Walter_Mair, Image Courtesy © Christian Kerez Zürich AG

L02_South_Walter_Mair, Image Courtesy © Christian Kerez Zürich AG

The walls, their placement varying from floor to floor, are linked by stairs that lead through the entire depth and height of the house from one end to the other. The cascading staircase is the final and perhaps most important attempt to wrest spatial clarity and expansiveness from  a very ordinary brief and a restricted plot of land.

L01_North_Walter_Mair, Image Courtesy © Christian Kerez Zürich AG

L01_North_Walter_Mair, Image Courtesy © Christian Kerez Zürich AG

L02_South_Walter_Mair, Image Courtesy © Christian Kerez Zürich AG

L02_South_Walter_Mair, Image Courtesy © Christian Kerez Zürich AG

L02_North_Walter_Mair, Image Courtesy © Christian Kerez Zürich AG

L02_North_Walter_Mair, Image Courtesy © Christian Kerez Zürich AG

Image Courtesy © Christian Kerez Zürich AG

Image Courtesy © Christian Kerez Zürich AG

Image Courtesy © Christian Kerez Zürich AG

Image Courtesy © Christian Kerez Zürich AG

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Category: House

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