The Swiss town of Gelterkinden is situated among the gently rolling hills of the Upper Basel Biets, located between Sissach and Olten, which function as a local railway junction. There, the plot in question is situated southwards bordering the building zone from where one has a great vantage point toward the town and the valley. The area towards the West cannot be built upon and flows smoothly into the agricultural countryside.
The volume, situated diagonally to the slope, is subdivided into three levels. The uphill facing entrance on the middle level enhances the solid visual anchor of the volume, while the passageway for the car effectively divides into the base. The middle floor is devised as a free-standing, glassed-in area. The more likely closed attic area with its circulating balustrade accommodates the top level.
Space allocation programme
The layout of the rooms, too, follows the division into three levels. Located on the ground floor, looking out towards the valley, are two nurseries featuring a shower, a water closet, a separate entrance as well as an exit leading into the garden. These rooms cannot be converted into a separate unit. In addition, on the ground floor in the area of the base, the billiard room can be accessed as well as the technical office and the wine cellar located beyond. For the most part, the ground floor is used as a living space, eating nook and kitchen. The living space is affiliated with an office and also connected to the entrance opening up to other areas, as well as a bicycle storage. According to its central living functions, this floor features a loggia-like balcony which is partially covered. The top floor of the house accommodates the bedroom with an open bath area, a shower, WC, and a dressing room. A large roof terrace attached to this floor provides the occupants with a sun deck, a water-lily pond and an outside fireplace with a bench to sit or to lay on.
The uncovered area of the balcony provides a visual connection to the ground floor. In this manner, each floor possesses its own, individual and useable exterior space.
Materials, construction and technique
The building primarily represents a concrete structure and will be, directly and fixedly, perceived as such. Ergo, when erecting the ceiling, floating support beams and covering construction were not considered but the underside of the ceiling makes the concrete visible. The concrete skin of the floors was polished using a water method, and a sealing process refined it into a durable floor covering.
The concrete theme is combined with wooden windows, carpentry work in the interior construction (kitchen); oak wood was used for the inner- and outer panelling. A layer of filter, made of gold-bronze anodized aluminium stretch metal, extends outside in front of the room-high glassed-in features.
This material concept is consequently also continued in the wet areas. Therefore, a special construction set-up had to be developed for the panelling of the showers. This enabled the installation of durable oak veneer which needs to function under such highdemands.
All installations are placed in concrete rough brickwork. Heat is generated via an air-water-heating pump whereby the blast apparatus, which causes a noise, is placed outside together with the heat exchanger. The heat is distributed by means of a TABS system inside the flooring and ceiling. The controlled ventilation moves the outside air over an earth register, and thus enables it to warm up the cold outside air but also to cool down the hot air. The water needed for the flushing of the toilet and the water needed for the outside spigots is obtained from a rainwater tank placed underground.