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Photo: Brigida González

High on the Hill: House in Tübingen

With its clear volumetrics, this smooth building occupies the foreground among its reproduction neighbours. The edgy concrete house is accentuated by well-placed incisions clad with anodized aluminum. The folded cut-ins take up the various heights of the surrounding topography and define the transition area to the exterior.

The spatial program for this family of five with a dog and cat is distributed over three storeys: the communal living areas are located at garden level, while the individual spaces are upstairs. Extra rooms and a studio have been integrated into the basement on the slope. The polygonal, C-shaped floor plan allows for interior perspectives and weaves the individual rooms into one continuous series of spaces. The middle point of the house forms a courtyard-like outdoor area from which the garden can be accessed on all sides. Large-format openings on the opposite side create exciting views in all directions and the best possible fall of daylight. The flooring, which continues through all the spaces, melds interior and exterior.

When it came to the energy concept, the architects concentrated on sustainability and a self-sufficient energy supply. The use of natural and mineral building components, and of prefabricated elements, enhances the building’s capacity for disassembly and recycling. The open-plan design ensures natural air circulation through all three storeys; according to the season, the air is preconditioned in an underground space. While the thoroughly insulated north façade is virtually windowless, the large-scale windows on the south side of the structure support solar heating in the wintertime. As an active measure, an air/water heat pump and a photovoltaic system have been installed on the roof. 

This house by Steimle Architekten combines a sensitive touch with the local terrain, high-quality interior spaces and a self-sufficient energy supply system into a harmonious whole. Multifaceted free spaces, attractive views and perspectives and exterior stairways bridging the various levels all contribute to making this hillside location liveable. A light design throughout the house and integrated, space-saving fittings create a consistent spatial experience and allow unobstructed views over the landscape. 

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