Text description provided by the architects. The new residential and commercial building is located in the town of Hard, next to Lake Constance in Austria. The client approached the architects with the desire for them to design a three-story apartment building. The ground floor of which would contain his business premises.
At first glance, the shape of the house appears eccentric. This angular form arose as a direct result of two factors. Firstly, a crowded main street to the southern side of the plot and secondly a wish of the client to be able to enjoy a private but sun filled garden throughout the day. Consequently the façade facing the street is wide and closed. Here, ribbon windows are utilised for internal lighting whilst at the same time maintaining a high standard of privacy. The east and west façades are aligned at very acute angles to the north where they meet at a right angle. Despite the close proximity of some of the neighbouring buildings, the apartments achieve a feeling of complete seclusion. In contrast the large terrace-like cantilever balconies of the apartments protrude far from the main building to create an element of extravagance.
Cantilevered concrete canopies are used to mark the entrances of the commercial and private sections in the ground floor. The south facing reception area of the dentist practice is highlighted using large shop window-like glazing and deliberately comfortably furnished. The layout of the practice is intentionally practical. Running along the north are the ordination rooms, while office and organisational space is kept in a separate block to the east.
The apartments are accessed separately through the east side entrance. The first floor houses two separate apartments, which can be combined, if required, into one large apartment. Situated on the top floor is the owners’ apartment. A sequence of open spaces and various visible construction materials - concrete, brick, plaster and wood – come together to create the feel of a generously refurbished loft apartment. Reinforced concrete cores are utilised to create different zones within both the public and private areas. Concrete is also used to create the complex pitched roof that spans the entire living space, forming an impressive static structure entirely from concrete plates.
The weight bearing, monolithic, external walls are built from 42.5cm thick insulating bricks and clad using an extra 8cm of plaster covered hemp insulation. The coarse grain of the external plaster mirrors the raw internal construction into the street, but is still in keeping with the more traditional surrounding buildings. The internal walls are made of reinforced concrete. In the dental practice, the walls have been further refined with a raw hammered finish. In the remaining floors, the walls, including the connections in the complex roof were left visible and untouched.