Distinctive black single-pitch roofs and red windows dominate the exterior of an early 1960s house, located in a quiet residential area in Allschwil. The compact structure was extended by a two-storey living area in 1968. Further structural additions followed in association with a change of use and extension of the garage. These interventions caused the spatial and architectural design of the building to become illegible – cuts and breaks were created. The conversion is intended to reconcile these junctions, as well as to meet the client’s desire to have a guest room.
The diverse components of the house are reunited to form a new complete structure, without entirely forgetting these irritating disruptions. Black tall wooden panels clad the interior, connecting the formerly disparate parts of the house. Junctions of the various conversions are accentuated by means of carefully designed framing wooden elements. Transitions are integrated in the new spatial design in this manner, while at the same time remaining visible as fractures and former architectural problem areas. These discontinuities disclose the history of the building. The wooden panels are a key motif of the new interventions, continuing from the living and dining area to the entrance corridor and into the new annex serving as a guest room. In the most intimate rooms, such as the master bedroom, the panels also cover ceilings and floors, surrounding occupants completely.
The glass and concrete structure of the new annex lends it individuality, while at the same time creating an overall ensemble together with the original house, by reflecting architectural themes of the existing building. A protective skin, reminiscent of the broad single-pitch roofs already in place, extends from the roof across the glass cube structure, spatially creating a kind of vessel. A circular opening offers a focussed view of the garden from the interior.
The former orientation towards the inside is now generally opened up more towards the garden, also through a new larger sliding window in the cooking and dining area. Utilisation of the house has become more homogeneous. A previously small kitchen is joined to the living room, yet remains spatially separate by insertion in the two-storey living space as an individual structure. In the rest of the house, the border between existing fabric and new constructions is flowing: original elements remain intact, while new ones are added in continuation of the history of the house.
Location Allschwil, Switzerland
Project planning 2017 – 2018
Implementation 2018 – 2019
Architecture Buchner Bründler Architekten
Partner Daniel Buchner, Andreas Bründler
Associate Stefan Oehy
Project management Simone Braendle
Staff Jon Garbizu Etxaide, Angelika Hinterbrandner
Photographers Daisuke Hirabayashi, Buchner Bründler