Balancing on the edge of a steep valley in the Swiss Wil region, this house is composed of a light geometric concrete structure resting on the solid volumes of the ground floor that emerge from the hillside. The building provides space for a couple whose children have left the house, along with guest accomodation for their large extended family to gather. The two levels provide very different living conditions; enclosed and protected below and expansive and airy above.
The ground floor is conceived as emerging from the hill, with the garage, storage and wellness complex built under the upper lawn, and a new volume containing the guest suite and stairs up to the first floor. The exterior walls are built of rammed concrete, appearing to be cut from the ground, and continuing into the house to create a heavy and robust sensation. The wellness complex, containing a sauna, relaxation room and baths, continues this feeling, bringing the earthen finishes inside and creating a connection to the adjacent pool and patio. The living room is loosely contained between this volume and the guest suite, with large sliding glass doors on both sides that allow the space to spill outside. The corner of the wellness complex also contains a fireplace that faces into the living room and creates a more intimate seating area.
A wooden paneled staircase leads upwards to an expansive first floor that has windows on all sides providing views through the trees to the valley beyond. The space contained by a box of concrete columns and beams around the elevation, is divided by a cruciform set of cabinets that contain the stairs, kitchen, bedroom and bathroom cabinets, all pulled away from the facade to create a continuous circulation route around the edge of the building. Between the facade columns, large windows give expansive views to the outside, and one corner of the building is set aside as an external portico separated by sliding glass doors creating a seasonal extension to the living and dining rooms.
Location: St. Gallen, Switzerland
Project team: Serge Schoemaker, Henrik Holte, Andrew Choptiany | Maiara Camilotti, Farimah Chaman Zadeh, Ottavia Profumo