This is a house for a young South African family in Erlenbach, just outside of Zurich along the lake. The plot is in a suburban context and therefore quite dense with family homes typical for the area. The site is on a slope, with beautiful views of the lake with the evening sun.
The clients asked us for a solution for a house that made the most of the big plot, wanting a view, but not ending up with a house on top of the hill and the rest of the garden down below. Our solution was to occupy the periphery of the site, with the main house on top of the hill and the pool house at the bottom; and with both houses connected through a solid stony promenade: 2 verandas.
In occupying the periphery there is one veranda at the top, with the promenade alongside the eastern boarder of the plot leading to the south end. There is also a small 'park' in the middle of the site.
The stony promenade connects the two verandas almost as a site of its own, where you walk or sit and enjoy the view to the lake or the park. The garden also moves up to the level of the living room and connects all levels of the house with the garden.
The main house is a stony, concrete, hammer-shaped volume over two levels that contains the living rooms. In the upper part is the public living room for dining and guests, with a beautiful view over the lake of Zurich. On the ground level is the family lounge with an exterior patio that can be joined as one room with the living room. All the windows disappear and the inside and outside patio become one. That patio also connects all bedrooms and is a lounge to sit together privately and watch a movie.
The circulations in and out of the patio space are controlled by concrete volumes at the ceiling that condense the space through mass and light and slow the circulation. The two rooms are crossed above each other, and at the ground floor level we pulled a wooden curtain around the concrete volume to create the private sleeping quarters. The upper living room has a shark fin-like shape, so the space is very high in the back and lower at the front to frame the view.