A Play of Form in an unequal Distribution

A Play of Form in an unequal Distribution

double habitation construction

clavienrossier confuse the viewer and unequally distribute the space of their new “double habitation construction”.

At the periphery of Geneva, within a tripartite landscape of forest, field, and city, there is a strange house – but only at second glance. From the street, the form initially appears pretty normal: saddle roof, rectangular floor plan. But soon, one realizes that something is wrong with this picture. Going around the building, it becomes clear that the floor plan is actually an idiosyncratic, hexagonal one with three different side lengths.

In comparison with the surrounding buildings, the façade of this 2012 project by Geneva based architectural practice clavienrossier is also not the usual thing. It consists of exposed concrete from bottom to top, interrupted by several windows, front doors, and loggias. Frames and a cladding of larch wood emphasize these openings effectively.

Internal Disunity

One might call this dwelling house “internally disunited”. It actually and literally is a divided house. An inner wall, parallel to the eastern and western outer walls, divides the concrete building into two unequal apartments. All the other inner walls also follow the same outer walls, either parallelly or perpendicularly. The loggias and front doors mentioned above, too, deny the hexagonal frame and rather choose to be part of a rectangle.

The peculiar floor plan improves the privacy of both residential parties. Since both apartments share only the northeastern outer wall, the two neighbours won't ever see each other on all the other sides of the building, no matter how far they lean out of the window. The downside of this, however, is a kind of “injustice” regarding the views. The site is flanked by a forest to the south, and a field to the west. To the north and east, the city comes into view. Now, since the house is divided into one apartment to the east (the smaller one) and the other one to the west (the bigger one), the eastern apartment has a strong orientation towards the city, whereas the residents of the western apartment may enjoy much more of the natural landscape.

Conclusion: Harmony, Cosiness... and a cathartic Pool

Exposed concrete tends to appear cool and grey. But not in this house. Contrasting the concrete, the frames of the windows as well as the larch cladding of the front doors and loggias create a harmonious design in matters of colour and material, which reflects the special situation of the house. It is as if the two neighbouring worlds of forest and city were merging. Inside, white walls and warm parquet flooring provide for a cosy flair. By the way, both residential parties may equally cleanse themselves from all the “inequalities” regarding size and view in a refreshing bath in the long, narrow pool between the forest and the house.


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