House Schwob in Zurich. The new building contrasts with the topographically higher situated grand villa and the brutality of the functional structure of the existing underground car park, which constitutes the actual base of the additional small volume. The absurdity of the artificial garden on top of the garage, and the wish not to destroy the idyllic garden with its pond, generated the idea to conceive the house as an erratic block or a stone sculpture in the garden. Logically, the complete wrapping of the small house, including the roof, with industrially prefabricated concrete slabs became the main motif of the design. The exploitation of the technical-constructive possibilities of the prefabrication of concrete elements became the central theme. By adding coloured pigmentation and natural basalt sand stone, and by a process of additional mechanical bush hammering (roughening of the surface), the concrete is refined and thereby appears irritatingly similar to natural stone. The bulky effect is created by the mostly large-format and storey-high concrete slabs that are regularly arranged, and by the constructive potential of the material that allows all visible metal flashing to be done away with. Light, high rooms are designed to counteract the interior spatial restrictions. The large windows, the dimensions of which first become apparent inside, have the effect that the outside dominates the interior with an enormous strength. The ground floor draws its strength from its intimacy with the garden: one storey higher however one has a view over the city of Zurich as if one had climbed far higher. The interaction of the immediate surroundings with the wider view creates an interesting tension within the small volume.
Gabrielle Hächler in collaboration with Nicole Woog