Text description provided by the architects. The client followed an inherited custodial intention to construct a new building with a strong presence in the centre of the rural town of Schwaikheim, close to Stuttgart. The materiality of wood was an obvious starting point, not only in terms of sustainability and natural resources, but also as a reference to the original training of the client as a carpenter. Out of this came a brief for 6 contemporary apartments and a workshop for the continuing practice as a craftsman.
The three-storey timber apartment building and the workshop stand on a connecting massive base, which mediates the height difference and slope of the existing ground plane towards the garden.
Two identical gable profiles, but with different heights and lengths are placed in relation to each other so that a workshop yard is created to act as both collective foreground and an extension of the streetscape. The treatment of the facade with dark painted timber and rough textured concrete is reminiscent of the surrounding context and the original building on the site.
All apartments open generously towards the south, which together with the highly insulated building skin and efficient heat pump ensures the heat energy requirements comply with the minimum usage according to the KfW energy efficiency standards. The addition of south orientated photovoltaic panels on the roof results in the annual energy balance of a zero-energy house.