Self-generating alchemy

Modern Housing in Switzerland

The Swiss architects L3P have taken an interesting step away from the orthadox approach of designing two free-standing houses. They have taken the basic form of a pair of typical semi-detached houses and recreated a new relationship between two separate houses by juxtaposing polygonal structures in which the interdependent proximity has been turned into a feature.



Images of the buildings are indirectly projected against one another through reflections on the facades and their viewpoints. It’s a special, very intimate space which exerts a unique fascination. The location also makes its mark on the interiors. An ingenious concept organises the rooms in a split-level design and lets the natural slope of the terrain become perceptible. Finely plastered interior walls contrast with the exposed external walls and black, jointless floors, as well as the large window areas.


The facade

The marble-effect of the facade and the roof are striking. In collaboration with the artist Thomas Sonderegger, the architects have experimented with hot dip galvanized steel plates. A chemical surface treatment has made it possible to change the athestic of the galvanized plates which create an extraordinary, vigorous effect which has been used to from a facade for the very fisrt time. The architectural finish contributes to the monolithic overall appearance of the houses which, here too, displays an affinity with sculpture.

Thomas Sonderegger has been working on the transformation of galvanized surfaces for some time, and he etches them in a process with several phases. The precise details are secret. Likewise it is currently still a secret whether and how the surfaces will alter in the course of time. The etching is intended to remove only a few microns of the zinc layer, and so the corrosion prevention should not be affected.

“The choice of materials for the facade and the roof makes you stop and think. Anyone who takes the time to do this will realise that there’s a reaction going on, with an interplay between the environment, light and the structure of the coating. Etching is contributing something new. It’s alive. That’s a unique factor that this façade expresses – an alchemically that is self generating, and an artistic bow to vivacity.” says Thomas Sonderegger.

Architect: L3P Architekten ETH FH SIA AG, Regensberg

Image: Vito Stallone

Posted on September 11, 2012 by untitled

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