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Umbau #01 – House Erlenmatte

Umbau #01 – House Erlenmatte

Erlenmatte 6020, Emmen, Switzerland | View Map
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Private Houses

Umbau #01 – House Erlenmatte

DU STUDIO as Architects

The project«Umbau #01» is an attempt to alter a postmodern house. The existing duplex house was erected in 1992 as a late formalist manifesto of its time – embedded in a typical, mountain-view-oriented housing development with nondescript exterior spaces. The house was designed by an artist. His brother – a trained construction manager – did the planning and built it. This Janus-faced split of work characterized the building: The interior spaces were subordinated to the exterior symmetry and gestalt.

The owners of one half wished for spatial improvements. The project reorientates the interior rooms towards all sides of the plot, as well as it reshapes the garden, aiming for an updated inhabitation – inside and outside.

The contrast between the postmodern style and the surrounding mediocre sprawl demanded a specific design attitude: The only valid context for the project was the destinct expression, the chromaticity and the materialization of the existing duplex house. No direct architectonic references were at hand, as there are no alterations of postmodern houses, yet. Instead, the project evaluates general questions of inhabitation that bring forth a vocabulary for the interventions. The densification of programs in the interior spaces are translated in an a-tectonic, fluid architecture: Volumes are dissolved; planes and lines vaguely counter balance each other and occassionaly converge to form spatial and mental limits.

A main focus is put on the reshaping of the garden. The entire plot is understood as a territory of inhabitation, with every part contributing specific qualities – questioning the wide-spread reduction of gardens as a green buffer against the neighbours. The exteriour informs the adjacent rooms and vice versa – for instance the rather unpopular view to the north is not supressed but exploits a moist patch of perennials as a green diorama, in which the kitchen is staged. Further outside an organically shaped stairs and skywalk becomes the pivot in the revalued backyard.

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