A hybrid home: Stegbach House in Germany
Text: Bettina Sigmund
This modern home in rural Kösching, designed by su und z Architekten, exudes peace and strength. But for all its quiet power, the house conceals a surprise: it has been planned as a multifunctional hybrid that is flexible enough to be used as a seminar space. Planners Stefen Speier, Reinhard Unger and Florian Zielinski have fulfilled their client's desire for an open home allowing more than one use – a place that inspires, fosters communication and yet offers places of retreat as well. The result is a hybrid that is suitable as a spacious home for two or a small seminar centre for up to ten.
Architect: su und z Architekten, Munich
Location: Kösching, Bayern
The idyllic lot, which features a wooded area and pond, is located on the outskirts of Kösching, a rural community in Bavaria. Stacked volumes create a simple, square shape with an inner atrium; a garage forms a separate, adjoining volume. The effect is of a monolithic sculpture, massive, imposing and powerful. The materials wood, concrete, glass and steel reflect both a natural purity and quality.
The dark, rough façade, made of horizontal wood siding, is interrupted by floor-to-ceiling apertures cut into the volume to lend transparency and depth to the structure. What's more, they blur the distinction between interior and exterior. The ground-floor spaces are arranged around a completely glassed-in inner courtyard. This forms the centre of the building and divides the space into a generous living and dining area with and adjacent kitchen. Alternately, the same room can become a seminar space with a cosy seating corner, fireplace and cooking area. The ground floor is flooded with light; the surrounding green characterizes the interior space. Depending how the building is being used, a stairway leads either to the more private upper storey with its bedroom, relaxation room and bathroom or to another meeting room with direct access to the rooftop terrace. The interior space is defined by means of light, pure materials. The peaceful, smooth surfaces of the coatings and the voluminous wooden elements serve to intensify the concentration.
The extensive wall units conceal the equipment required for a ventilation system which not only creates a comfortable atmosphere in the house, but also controls the building's energy consumption according to the energy-efficient 70 (EnEV 2009) standard. The energy, air-conditioning and ventilation concept is based on supply from a gas-condensing boiler supported by solar panels, heated flooring and a bus-controlled ventilation system with heat recovery.
The quality of Stegbach House rests on its simplicity, quietude and clarity of form, materials and details. There is nothing superfluous here; everything is necessary. These high expectations from such a pure design could only have been fulfilled by a sensitive, precise execution on the part of the participating firms. Planners and client alike are convinced: ways of life can change as the years pass. Architecture, however, adapts.