Outside Basel in the calm neighbourhood of Binningen, Switzerland, this semi-detached house by KOHLERSTRAUMANN Architects integrates two distinct users of a duplex arrangement within a singular unified house structure.
Responding to the existing topography was a key challenge for the architects. To do so, the building was separated into a series of volumes and a split level integrated into the main part of the building. The resulting volumes create spaces that attain optimum room height and efficient usage of space.
Among these different volumes, the covered building entrance is located at the entry of the semi-detached house and lies immediately adjacent to the garage. Following the terrain, a half-storey staircase directs those entering the property towards the open kitchen and living area which features large glass openings.
The uppermost floors contain two bedrooms, well-lit and airy office space, and a bathroom. Due to the building orientation and climatic conditions, south-facing glass windows were avoided, therefore light penetrates the spaces primarily from the north and west side of the building.
A further highlight of the house is a comfortable main bedroom with a dressing room in the attic on two half floors. With direct access to a private bathroom, the space has maximum sunlight and views of the city of Basel.
To maximize space and provide the residents with an environment exposed to sunlight, a terrace with a covered canopy was built in the southern part of the house.
On the exterior, exposed surfaces of sand-blasted concrete highlight the functionality of the material which acts as a protective layer for the rooms with its characteristics of thermal protection. The exterior further reduces the energy use of the house through good insulation and climate shielding strategies.
Inside, a minimalist material selection limited to wood and concrete results in a sleek modern look while the upright wooden framework offers a natural touch of grey and a distinct volume that anchors the building to the terrain.