12 x12

Milled from a solid block of aluminium
Bespoke light fitting for Villa S

Villa S, White cast in-situ concrete, near Heidelberg, Baden-Württemberg, Germany
Completion date: May 2014 

Prospettive Zen
Marie Claire Maison Italia
Una geometria all’insegna della sottrazione, fatta di linee rigorose, 
per il padiglione format Ian Shaw Architekten a Siegen, in Germania

Villa S, near Heidelberg, Baden-Württemberg, Germany
White cast in-situ concrete, slate, steel & glass
Completion date: May 2014

Frankfurt am Main

These monolithic structures deliver a dramatic and substantial balcony solution to this late nineteenth century apartment block, perfectly complementing the building's scale and massing. The two towers are constructed out of prefabricated concrete columns and platforms, the modular nature of the architecture being subtly disseminated by a 10mm shadow gap detail. Both are freestanding as an historic preservation order protects the property’s external fabric.

The concrete’s etched finish - the result of extensive testing with several 1:1 samples incorporating various aggregates and pigments - references the use of red sandstone in the building’s door and window trims. The objective here was not to copy the painted treatment of the sandstone, but rather to articulate the material’s core qualities - its colour, composition and texture - within a concrete template. And as a way of a counterpoint to the scheme’s solidity, self-supporting stainless steel railings elegantly enclose each floor plate.

The spindles in each railing section are set into 50mm deep countersunk stainless steel bushings. These cyclindrical holes are precisely aligned, the result of being configured as a single unit within the pre-cast concrete mould, welded together with steel rods to eliminate any potential movement. Each bushing was fitted with a plastic insert during casting to ensure its volumetric integrity. A circular steel plate surround completes the design; these encase the spindles, slotting into the bushings and sitting flush with the floor.

Internally, the platforms are detailed with a 2% fall to allow for drainage. 3cm thick sandstone slabs, positioned on footings, provide a walking surface that is safe and durable, and in keeping with both the concrete and building’s use of sandstone.

In essence, the project’s materiality, tectonics and geometry represent a seamless integration of making and thought, culminating in two contextually measured structures that are well-honed, well-grounded and well-proportioned.

Prefabricated bespoke concrete and stainless steel railings
Frankfurt am Main, 2013
Villa W
Frankfurt am Main
(Under Construction)

From the street this white monolithic house will appear impenetrable, its windowless façade and recessed entranceway delineating a clear demarcation between the public and private realms. Surrounding properties are a mixture of two and three storey pitch roof housing. All have been carefully referenced in determining the project’s scale, mass and proportions. A series of setbacks on floors one and two allude to the timeless ziggurat form. And as a way of a vertical counterpoint to the building’s robust horizontality, the traditional chimney is articulated as an elegant rectilinear column.

Villa W is about generating presence. The build is Romanesque in stature. This is architecture communicating through its constructional ontology the importance of place and dwelling.

The scheme utilises a restrained palette of materials: for the externals walls, one course of high insulation clay blocks; for the internal walls, cast in-situ concrete, which is used also for the floors and ceilings, the villa’s roof, and the inverted U frame installation that organises the project's ambitious fenestration design. The house is finished in a mineral based render, so preserving the breathability of the walls. As there is no specific insulation layer used in the build, the external walls are specified at 450mm thick in order to achieve the desired U-values.

Villa W provides 640 sq metres of living space over four levels. The floor-ceiling heights measure 2.4m, 2.8m, 2.6m and 2.4m from the lower ground level to the second floor respectively. The main social spaces, a living and dining area on the ground floor and a gallery/study on the first floor, are located to the rear of the property, orientated towards the garden via the fully glazed south elevation. Here the building’s structural credentials allow for the insertion of a dramatic double height space (6m x 6m x 3.4m), thereby articulating these interiors as one large interconnected two-tier cuboid.

The glazing to the south elevation comprises a series of bespoke triple pane units: three for the ground floor (3.5m x 2.8m, 3m x 2.8m and 3.5m x 2.8m); three for first floor (3.5m x 2.6m, 3m x 2.6m and 3.5m x 2.6m); and two for second floor (3.5m x 2.4m and 3.8m x 2.4m). The scheme’s tectonic rigour is further disseminated through the inclusion of a substantial glass unit (6.0m x 2.8m) to the ground floor west elevation.

The development's second floor L shaped composition, with full height glazing on three sides, delivers scenic views of the Tanus mountain range. A skylight situated above the staircase provides diffused north light. This soft, even illumination creates a sense of expectation as one ascends, which, on fine days, is heightened by diagonal rays of sunlight via the pavilion’s south west glazing.

The use of light as a building element, defining space and animating form, is utilized throughout the project. The seemingly solid north facing façade is subtly detailed with a recessed glazed entranceway and a horizontal slot above the front door. These gently illuminate the hallway, enabling the dwelling’s main light source, its south elevation, to draw one through and into the social hub of the home.

Villa W,  Frankfurt am Main
High insulation clay blocks, cast in-situ concrete, glass and sandstone
Starts on site: November 2013
Modelmaker: Innovation Technologies GmbH,  Frankfurt am Main

EDITION29 CAR NOTES VOL 1, featuring Ian Shaw Architekten's Pavilion Siegen,
is now available for the iPad.