Iwan Bühler: City Villa in Lucerne - best architects 18

Iwan Bühler

City Villa in Lucerne

best architects 18

multi-family homes


Lucerne / Switzerland


Philipp Mächler


The brick multi-family residence, built in 1889 and carelessly converted in the 1970s, was stripped down to its historical building fabric. The new addition, for structural engineering reasons built in lightweight construction with prefabricated timber elements, replaces the two mismatched attic storeys added in the 1970s and ties the volume together into a new and coherent whole. Formally, the design of the new cornices and lintels made of concrete elements is based on the historical jambs, cornices and parapets of sand-lime brick. Contemporary floor-to-ceiling windows in the new section of the building are surrounded by vertical concrete post elements that give them a rhythm in harmony with the existing façade. The closed sections of the façade are finished in a high-grade mineral plaster. The overall result is a new unit with a stately and dignified appearance which does not detract from the building’s history. Based on the need for urban densification, a new wing was also added to the building. This extension consistently carries forth the language of the added storeys: A rhythmic interplay of open and closed fields enters into a fascinating dialogue with the old building and casually integrates the new addition into its surroundings. Following the logic of the historical building fabric, the new wing is built from single-skin masonry walls that are protected by the same mineral plaster as the attic addition. The former forecourt was eliminated and the border wall restored, in keeping with the local tradition, and the recovered space could be added back to the garden.