barbara gschwend: Apartment building between town and country - best architects 20

barbara gschwend

Apartment building between town and country

best architects 20

multi-family homes




Jens Ellensohn


The apartment building from 2016 consists of two structures located on a slight rise at the edge of town where it meets agricultural land. On a plot of 5,000 m2, the buildings re-interpret the traditional typology of the «Zurich Oberland» in modern timbered architecture. The chosen orientation of the buildings ensures that all 15 apartments have a view of the urban-rural location with vistas of the lower lying town on the one hand and adjacent fields and the Glarus Alps on the other. Attention to detail defines the quality of the buildings in their proportions and volume. A three-storey structure of wooden elements was erected on a shared underground car park whose access could be integrated into the buildings thanks to the site’s natural topography. The ceilings of each storey are made of exposed laminated boards thus combining construction and design – a reinforced concrete coating ensures building regulations are met. The floor plans for all apartments were designed to stretch across the entire width of the building and are lit from both sides by floor to ceiling glazing, a principle also used for the generous stairwells. Frameless sliding glass elements open onto 2.5-metre deep loggias that are integrated into the cube and façade cladding. This enables a seamless transition from the interior to the exterior. The high standard of interior fittings goes hand in hand with a sustainable and environmentally sound building envelope and services engineering. The complex is heated with a Minergie-certified, air-to-water heat pump and ventilated with comfort ventilation.