1996

Private House
Bruderholz

Basel-Stadt
Switzerland

Private House
Direct commission, 1995-1996

The unique aspects of the property demanded an extensive study of the typology of multi-family dwellings. The conventionally used principles of sequencing and layering — as applied in row houses or apartment blocks — did not adequately respond to the questions posed by the location.


The terrain slopes gently in a westerly direction, opening onto the access road on that side. The other boundaries of the plot are overgrown by vegetation from the adjacent properties. The empty parcel of land forms a gap in the structure of the surrounding suburban environment. The unusual dynamic into the depth of the property is accentuated by a row of fruit trees that emphasizes the intrinsic proportions of the property itself.

The initial decision was made to respect the semi-wild character of the almost abandoned property and to set the house as a ‘solitaire’ within the landscape. The free space surrounding the house has not been transformed into typical suburban gardens, but has been interpreted as a landscape.


The homogeneously enveloped volume of the living spaces lies displaced on the basement level of fair-faced concrete which, compensating for the sloping terrain, reaches into the hillside. The crosswise positioning of the two apartments can not be read from the outside, thus the building gives the impression of being a one-family residence.


The complex, interlocking organization of the two identically-sized apartments makes it possible for the inhabitants of both units to enjoy the advantages of the various orientations within the property, as well as benefit from the direct interplay of the ground floor spaces with the outside environment.