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Concrete and Fine Lace: Apartment House in Uster

The residential area where wild bär heule architekten have built their apartment house shows a cross-section of architectural history. Among the diverse estate homes, townhouses and 1970s multistorey dwellings, the sleek new structure creates a peaceful impression with its clear, cubic shape and homogeneous grey chroma. The compact cubature achieves a floor-area ratio of 1.0, which fulfills the intentions of the urban planning scheme. Inside the building, there are three apartments, each of which has its own floor plan. 

The architects have cleverly played with materials and contrasts. For the façade, they chose various textures of cast-in-place concrete which alternate from storey to storey. A patterned Styrofoam stencil was used on some sections to create a vertical relief. This texture is contrasted with smooth areas of concrete. Inside, the unique approach to the surfaces continues. The walls consist of large-format, hollow breezeblocks. wild bär heule architekten rejected plasterwork in favour of white paint applied directly to the walls so the joints and ripply surfaces of the blocks can be seen. A white sunscreen and light-coloured wooden floorboards act as counterpoints to the rough walls. The sunscreen is made of delicate lace which features a floral, art-nouveau-inspired pattern that casts a delightful silhouette onto the wooden floor. The individual materials of the façade and the interior spaces are delimited by joints: the architects wish to emphasize the singular functions of each material. Since the rough building materials are visible, the architects placed great value on precise craftsmanship, for even the tiniest flaw would have disturbed the overall effect.

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more Information:


Construction documentation CD: Januar 2013 – September 2015
Artist: Erik Steinbrecher
Construction management: B+P Baurealisation AG
Electric design: Pro Engineering
Buidling services: Waldhauser + Hermann AG
Landscape architect: Hager Partner AG
Structural engineering: Schnetzer Puskas
Building physics: Zimmermann + Leuthe GmbH
Plot area: 4.400 m2
Building area: 690 m²
Volume: 21.220 m3

Photographer: Erica Overmeer

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