House at the Buechberg

House at the Buechberg

Architect
Kit Architects
Location
Switzerland | View Map
Project Year
2020
Category
Private Houses
© Ruedi Walti

House at the Buechberg

Kit Architects as Architects

Located on the southern edge of the hamlet Tobler, on the northern slope of the Buechberg, the former farmhouse dates back to the 18th century and was partly built in the traditional style of a log house, making it especially valuable to preserve. Like most houses in the hamlet, it also originally boasted an attached barn and outbuilding. The barn no longer exists, but the volume it occupied served as a model for extending the house’s living area. The outbuilding was demolished and replaced with a second residential unit that takes up the vocabulary of traditional design and seamlessly connects with the rest of the building.

photo_credit © Ruedi Walti
© Ruedi Walti

The original farmhouse was a wooden construction on a sandstone base, flanked by a stable and barn up into the 1960s. The log construction was in good condition, but the stable, which had served as a storage shed, was in disrepair and had to be demolished. Likewise the building’s western exterior wall, made up of matchboard, couldn’t be preserved because it had been badly damaged by woodworm and dampness combined with an incorrect load transfer threatened to collapse a part of it.

photo_credit © Ruedi Walti
© Ruedi Walti

House with former barn
The attached barn served as a model to extend the building’s living area, creating a spatial interplay between the bedrooms located within the original log house construction and the new area that takes advantage of barnlike high ceilings. Two large openings to the north open out onto the vista toward Lake Constance. The middle area has kept its functionality: housing the staircase, the entryway with a bathroom on the first floor, and a hallway, a dressing room and a newly added bathroom on the second floor. This part of the building was also renovated and the first-floor ceiling replaced with one made of solid wood because its load-bearing capacity was insufficient and sections of it showed signs of sagging.

photo_credit © Ruedi Walti
© Ruedi Walti

Former shed
The second residential unit, a new construction, has completely replaced the shed, but its original slope has been kept. However, the eaves of the north façade were raised by around 1 meter to optimize room height, lighting and the view of Lake Constance. During construction, a sand-blasted concrete wall was used to replace the previous quarry stone foundation, while the characteristic changes in level remain. The ground floor contains two bedrooms and a bathroom, the upper floor an open-plan kitchen, living room and dining room. The original log house wall remains unchanged and on display on one side of the shed.

photo_credit © Ruedi Walti
© Ruedi Walti

Façade
The new façade was constructed with vertical strip cladding in the style of the traditional barns and stables in the hamlet. For shade and privacy, the windows can be covered with special wooden sliding shutters that evoke the original appearance of the farmhouse. Consistent with the settlement development, projections and recesses divide the façade into a small number of larger panels. The façade of the original building has been left unchanged, except for the installation of the entrance door where a window used to be.

photo_credit © Ruedi Walti
© Ruedi Walti

Craftsmanship
The renovation took place in close consultation with the authorities governing the preservation of historic buildings and was carried out by local craftsmen

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