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House in Münchenbuchsee, Switzerland

Marine images and nautical architecture played a large role in the design of this house. Their influence can be seen, for example, in the porthole windows along the narrow corridor, in the gangway-gallery with its rhythmic pattern of metal gratings, and in the exposed steel structure. In contrast, the walls and soffits are in timber, left largely in a natural state. The house has a simple, linear layout. Access to it is at upper floor level via a steel gangway. Almost immediately, one finds oneself in the long, narrow main living space, which extends over the whole length of the building. It is articulated into various areas by pairs of steel columns and diagonal bracing members and by the huge cylindrical water tank. A single small window is the only source of light in the long sides. The main space is oriented to the fully glazed faces at the north and south ends. On the lower floor, the rooms are lined up along a corridor. The sequence is interrupted in the middle by the service core laid out about the water tank. The rooms on this floor receive daylight through a continuous strip of windows.

The outer skin, the partitions and the floors of the building consist of prefabricated timber-frame elements with members of uniform cross-section (80 ? 210 mm). Insulated with cellulose, the structure is clad externally with okoumé plywood and internally with birch plywood sheets. The heating and warm-water requirements are met by 23 m2 of solar collectors and a 30 kW wood-fired boiler.

This article is taken out of the following magazine:
DETAIL 2/1999

Interiors

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