Calatrava was commissioned to design the Buchen Housing development by Remer
Real Estate, a former subsidiary of Portland Cement, during the
manufacturing of the Swissbau Pavilion where he was investigating the
structural and aesthetic qualities of concrete.
stipulated that the primary building material be concrete, and that all
exterior walls be molded and prefabricated, which demanded a rationalization
in the number of cast elements.
The site on
the outskirts of the small town of Würenlingen, adjacent to a conventional
housing development commissioned by the client from various architects, is
high density but without major urban centers. The client later acquired the
parcel of land bordering a wooded area to the north.
design includes two types of residences; freestanding units and eighteen
terraced houses oriented toward the woods.
Due to changing economic conditions it was decided this concept for the
terraced houses was easier to realize as a first stage.
square meter, three-story units, the first six completed in 1997, are
organized in a sweeping crescent. The entrance, dining room and kitchen,
with a basement in the back, are reached via a glazed front entrance.
Because of the slope in the terrain the basement is recessed into the hill
creating a roof top patio for the mezzanine lounge.
overhanging bedrooms, on the upper floor of each group, create a common
entrance arcade delineated by the inclined supports to the front. The
facades are fully glazed to admit light into the interiors.
houses are arranged In two rows facing each other across a central,
underground car park, which runs the length of the site. The car park is
illuminated through glass bricks in the arched roof, which also forms the
surface of an axial footpath running between the houses.
Due to the
density of the development, and to maximize the intermediate space at ground
level, the main accommodation is placed on an upper, overhanging level.
The kitchen and dining room protrude into a glazed atrium, beneath the
overhang, where a lounge forms a mezzanine on the upper level. Bedrooms are
on the main level, laundry and technical services in the basement.
Each slender support tapers towards the base, further minimizing the area
occupied by each house, permitting glimpses across the estate and enhancing
the play of light.
Remer Real Estate