Urban infill done well? Anyone who has ever dared venture into Munich's suburbs knows that architectural quality is rarely a factor in space rededication and infill developments. But what about an environmentally friendly timber complex? In the project Hausfuchs the IFUB * demonstrates how you can, in fact, have infill, ecology, and top-quality architecture all under one roof (or under four roofs, to be precise).
Munich is growing. Rapid developments are noticeable even in the suburbs where the process of infill is met with the challenge of retaining local quality and living standards. In the project Hausfuchs, one plot was divided into two and the existing single-family home replaced with a two-family duplex. True to the maxim one plot, two houses, four roofs, integration into the existing local architecture was achieved with the saddle roofs. By simply placing the houses transversely to the road, an exciting and unusual composition was achieved that clearly defines the approach to both properties.
The volumes of both houses and their garages were designed in unison, the heights and depths being deliberately staggered. The front facade follows the straight course of the road, yet the height development creates a visual response to the crossroads on the corner. A small side detail is the refuse shed, built in the same style as the houses and garages. Two simple design measures lend the semi-detached houses a special character: first, the untreated larch cladding was laid diagonally to alternate with the pitches of the roofs; second, the unavoidable drainpipes were turned into a design feature, and together with the sheet metal roof and skirting, frame the house with a delicate, bright outline.
With its all-timber construction, the low-energy building complies to the most stringent ecological building regulations. In addition to being highly energy efficient, it is particularly worth mentioning the complete absence of membranes in the walls and the preference for wood as a construction material throughout. Further advantages of the timber construction are space efficiency and comfort: due to the thin walls, more living space remains and every square meter is well tempered and ventilated. This was already apparent during the short construction phase, during when the pleasant smell of wood conveyed a general sense of well-being long before the clients moved in.
To the rear, the staggered design of the two houses facilitates a zoning of the gardens and allows for more privacy on the terraces. The shorter west side property enjoys an additional floor level, which balances the difficult shape of the plots and frees up more space for the garden. Here, the optical effect of the diagonal wooden cladding is particularly beautiful: when viewed at an angle the surfaces appear to differ in tone, although the slats, other than the opposing incline, are identical. Built in the 1950s, the old house with the fox was well known in the area because of its decorative ornament, but unfortunately the building was in such bad condition that it was not worth preserving and had to be demolished. The fox, however, was saved.
The central element of the east house’s interior design is the staircase. The central element of the east house’s interior design is the staircase. This connects not only the basement, ground floor, and upper floor, but also a storage area in the roof of the garage, via an intermediate level access. Various types of built-in storage were integrated into the stair element such as cupboards, shelves, the wardrobe, and parts of the kitchen. A steel frame with incorporated birch wood boxes was developed to allow the rooms (of differing heights) to be connected with a relatively compact stairwell, while at the same time retaining a translucent, airy feel.
From the kitchen, the eye is guided to the large window in the living room with a view out to the garden. The kitchen units are made of birch, just like the other boxes. The steel frame extends into the kitchen and entrance area, and integrates some of the owners existing and much loved pieces of furniture. Even the refrigerator has been integrated. Above the passage to the entrance area is the bridge between the upper floor and the garage roof.
As similar as the two houses may be from the outside, on the inside they are individually adapted to their owners. That being said, the west house also develops completely around the central staircase. Airy and open, it separates the living room from the dining area. Together with the herringbone parquet in oak and the sound absorbing spruce ceiling, a completely different impression is created here, however, to that of the east house. The simple staircase of white beams and solid oak was combined with an exciting railing formed of black lacquered steel. In order to save as much space as possible, the staircase was extended by two steps, added at the center of the landing. The undercut of the stairs not only reinforces the zigzag effect but also leads to a further reduction in space. Ultra compact!
The kitchen in the west house is also designed as an open living space, complete with a kitchen island. The owners themselves chose the super-matt dark blue of this island unit, defining it as the central element and leaving the rest of the kitchen to form the background. Individual open elements made of oak relax the minimal look and pick up on the materiality of the floor.
The window frames in the west house are subtly tinted white. Here, there are also cosy windows to sit in, too. One of the most beautiful rooms in the whole house is the children's room. The varying levels of the window’s create different perspectives and dynamic lighting, in a room with an otherwise normal layout. And round she goes! The staircase in the west house ends one floor higher than in the east house, in the bright loft.
Material Used :
> facade: larch wood untreated
> housetop: aluminium sheet, Prefa Prefalz colour 10 P.10 prefaweiß
> downpipe: steel panel, Fa. Wurzer, grey white
> windows: wood-alu windows, Fa. Wolf, outside eloxal C-35, inside spruce transparent
> skylight: Velux wodden window
> plug socket: Berker R3 polarwhite
Haus Ost (House East):
> floor: industrial parquet floor birch, white oiled
> staircase/kitchen/wardrobe: steel frame greywhite painted, boxes birch multiplex, worktop/stairs from maple white oiled
> window framing: birch multiplex, white oiled
> wall tiles: Metroplan Provenza Quattro Mini Craquelure Tiles colors crema, rojo antiguo, kiwi
> floor tiles: Agrob Buchtal Chroma Plural, colors 2016, 2029, 2038
Haus West (House West):
> floor: herringbone oak parquet (ground floor), planks oak (first floor and top floor)
> stairs: flooring oak, railings: steel dark grey painted
> kitchen: Fenix