From the architect. The House SLM in Solingen, Germany, was rebuilt in 2013, when its inner as well as its outer appearance were completely redesigned. The original house was already constructed in the 1970ies, as most of the houses in the neighborhood.
The building owners approached us with the desire for additional living space. But, first and foremost, they wanted to inhabit a modern and generously sized house. Uttering their wishes they approximately outlined the image of a villa in Bauhaus style with an open floor plan. The building law, however, exclusively requested houses with saddle roofs, which called upon a conceptual design that had to deviate from the client’s ideas.
As the ground area of the house was already profoundly larger than the areas of the neighboring houses, and an additional floor was now planned, we tried to develop an architectural language that would neither emphasize the size of the house, nor recreate the crouched character of the old house. The new house was supposed to fit well into the environment, and should not downgrade its neighbors.
On these grounds a form was developed that connects two smaller volumes into one house with two gables. The size of these two gable areas corresponds to those of the neighboring buildings. The property has a beautiful garden with several big trees. On the property the distance between house and street is relatively large, and its main facade towards the street is southbound. Therefore, a veranda as a room half opened and upstream to the main inner living space was created on the ground floor. Through the narrowly arranged stilts of the veranda an optical cache towards the street originated, that shades the living space, protecting against the heat during the summer.
The dark plastered facade can be understood as reminiscent of the old houses typical for this area in Solingen. These houses are in part completely covered with slate cladding. Also the direct neighbors used slate cladding for their gables, and dark roof coverings.
The interior of the new House SLM contrasts the outside with its down-to-earth character. The living space are arranged around one central furniture box that incorporates wardrobe, built-in closets, as well as a fireside. In the inside of this central element a staircase leads to the basement. Smooth transitions of the rooms and varying ceiling heights characterize the open living space on the ground floor, and create the desired generously sized living space. On the upper floor there is a completely separated guest-apartment with a roof terrace.