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Concrete House in Basel

In Basel’s Matthäus district, a residential tower rises between two smaller adjacent houses to almost archaic effect. The contrast between the modern architecture and the existing houses to the right and left is striking, yet seen within a regional context the fair-faced concrete building with its five storeys and roof parapet fits in well with the local townscape.

The narrow plot six metres in width required a design offering vertical staggering as an efficient constructional solution. Two interlocking apartments, each provided with an entrance of their own as well as access to the garden and terraces, are thus organised over three floors of the building.

The long, strung-out floor plans 72 square metres in size solely gain daylight from the north and south, there being no openings in the walls to the sides. Sliding doors enable sill-less flooring, and along with shelved walls divide the apartments into zones. The room-high windows framed in oak introduce daylight into the interior and at the same time underscore the rectangular floor plan. Tubular luminaires mounted in places along the edge of the ceilings provide additional lighting while bringing out the tactile surface structure of the site-cast walls.

The building seems all of a piece. The formwork used to cast the concrete has left a visible imprint in the form of the wood grain of the shuttering. Certain fixtures, such as kitchen shelves and bath bubs are also cast in-situ concrete, and as part of a homogenous volume merge into the overall structure of the house.