Villa S is dramatically located on a hillside above the historic town of Schriesheim, in Baden-Württemberg, in southwest Germany. From its elevated site the building offers spectacular views of the surrounding countryside: to the south, the Black Forest; to the west, the Palatinate and the Rhine Valley; to the east, the Odenwald mountain range; and in the foreground, on a neighbouring hillside, the ruins of Strahlenburg Castle, originally built in 1295. Within this setting, the project presents itself as an elemental two-tier structure in white cast in-situ concrete.





















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12x12
Milled from a solid block of aluminium
Bespoke light fitting for Villa S
2014


Villa W
Frankfurt am Main
(Under Construction)


















Villa W’s monastic appearance sets it apart from its immediate suburban neighbourhood. From the street the house seems almost impenetrable: the entranceway is recessed; the first floor, windowless; and the second floor fenestration, well set back. By contrast, the rear (south) elevation is completely glazed. Surrounding properties are mix of two and three storey pitch housing. All have been carefully referenced in determining its scale and massing.


















The building as a whole is configured as a cast in-situ concrete structure, with an infill wall composition comprising one course of high insulation clay blocks. At 450 mm thick, this comfortably delivers the required U-values. Both plaster and render finishes are mineral based to ensure excellent wall breathability.

Internally, the four floors provide 640 sq metres of living space. The rooms are generous and well proportioned, with ceiling heights measuring 2.4m, 2.8m, 2.6m and 2.4m from the lower ground level to the second floor respectively. All the concrete ceilings are left exposed in line with the villa’s elemental aesthetic.

The main social spaces - a L-shaped living and dining area on the ground floor (one of a number of 'L-shaped' configurations within the dwelling) and a gallery/study on the first floor - are located to the rear, orientated towards the garden via the fully glazed south facing elevation. Here, the building's substantial framework allows for the insertion of a dramatic double height space (6m x 6m x 3.4m), so enabling these interiors to function as one large, interconnected, two-tier cuboid.



















At the front of the house, a symmetrical spatial and fenestration plan organises the two first-floor bedrooms, each with an en-suite wet room. All four spaces are fitted with deeply framed full height triple glazed units (2.6m x 1.5m), so giving both side elevations a real sense of stature.

This depth and stature is also very much evident in the sizeable, sunken trapezoidal courtyard that adjoins the property on its west elevation. Defined by two hefty concrete retaining walls, this atmospheric void allows daylight to penetrate deep into the lower ground level via a L-shaped glazing arrangement.

At the rear of the property, the villa's south facing aspect is fully exploited by a comprehensive fenestration design: three full height units for both the ground floor and first floor, and two for the top level. In addition, a substantial oblong glass panel defines the living area's west wall elevation. Within this light filled space, a flooring surface of coquina stone slabs (which is utilised throughout the house) spills out on to the adjoining L-shaped terrace, so bringing the outdoors in and vice versa.

































Building on this dynamic, the similarly L-shaped top floor configuration enables the house 'to step outside' its immediate location. Full height glazing on three sides offers scenic views of the surrounding countryside, with the Taunus mountain range being visible to the north. Diffused north light from the skylight above the stairwell creates a sense of expectation as one ascends, which on fine days is heightened by diagonal rays of light via the south-west glazing.

This delicate use of light is equally on show at the front of the house. Here, a rectangular slot is detailed in the overhang above the recessed entranceway and a full-height sandblasted glass screen integrated within the entrance design. Together, these gently illuminate the hallway, the light becoming brighter as one moves through the villa and into the voluminous living space.























Villa W,  Frankfurt am Main
High insulation clay blocks, cast in-situ concrete, glass and sandstone
Starts on site: November 2014
Modelmaker: Innovation Technologies GmbH,  Frankfurt am Main



Villa S
Schriesheim


















Villa S is dramatically located on a hillside above the historic town of Schriesheim, in southwest Germany. From its elevated site, the building offers spectacular views of the surrounding countryside: to the south, the Black Forest; to the west, the Palatinate and the Rhine Valley; to the east, the Odenwald mountain range; and in the foreground, on a neighbouring hillside, the ruins of Strahlenburg Castle, originally built in 1295. Within this setting, the project presents itself as an elemental two-tier structure in white cast in-situ concrete.


























The concrete has been well honed, the culmination of years of perfecting its use, perfecting the right mix, the quality of shuttering and the waxes applied, to ensure a smooth matt finish. Here it is used within a massing composition that generates a strong sense of place, rooting the villa in its culture and topography.

The lower level is articulated as a heavy concrete cuboid, embedded in the landscape - an extension of the earth almost. The walls are Romanesque in stature, which is the result of the double concrete wall system, its solidity and density strikingly disseminated at the front of the house courtesy of the deeply set glazing. Structurally, the internal wall is loadbearing, allowing the outer wall to function as formidable facing. Within this block, the bedrooms and bathrooms are safely cocooned. Above, the pavilion like configuration engages with the landscape and the elements.

























The ground floor plan is made up of three interconnected but well-defined areas. The first of these, on the north side, incorporates the garage, the entranceway and an external staircase leading down to the lower ground level and garden. The central area houses the living space, kitchen and the building’s stairwell, the upper landing providing access to the garage as well as to a toilet and washroom facility. The large terrace, on the south side, accessed via three sliding glass panels, completes the 135 sqm ground floor area.

The downstairs layout is larger, measuring 175sqm. This comprises the two south-facing bedrooms, with floor to ceiling glazing, both having en-suite bathrooms; a central area, which is capable of accommodating two additional well-sized rooms; and, towards the rear, a utility and washroom, a general storage space, and a dedicated room for the building’s electrics and heating system. Ceiling height are generous: 2.6m for the lower level and 2.85m for the ground floor.
















Within the scheme, the main living area, in particular, delivers a real sense of grandeur, suffused as it is with natural light and commanding as it does such huge, uninterrupted vistas. This is all framed and contained by the continuous inside-outside Brazilian slate flooring and the roof's 2.6m cantilever, the latter forming part of a bold tectonic composition, which also features a seemingly gravity defying open canopy emphatically defining the north-facing entranceway - its large rectangular aperture delivering a constantly changing interplay of light and shadow. Taken as whole, this expansive roof structure, with its displays of both heft and dexterity, comprehensively counterbalances the lower block's strong horizontal presence.

























Throughout the villa, the Meranti doors and window frames provide a strong aesthetic counterpoint to the white concrete, while elegantly complementing the slate flooring, which is used on both levels, and the opaque matt glass panels that form part of the fenestration.

This holistic approach to detailing is also evident in the building's bespoke light fitting which delivers both internal and external coverage, works within the structural parameters of the concrete ceilings, and complements the architecture's exacting, pared-back aesthetic. Existing fittings were unable to meet these requirements, hence the project developing its very own luminaire.


























The outer casing, which measures 12cm x 12cm x 8cm, is milled from a solid block of aluminium. Internally, the fitting comprises 49 1W LEDs mounted on a platina plate, combined with a highly polished stainless steel reflector and a specially satinized plexi-glass cover. The result is a low energy, high performance lamp that delivers an even spread of emitted light. Furthermore, the unit sits perfectly flush to the ceiling, so respecting the ascetic clarity of the cast in-situ concrete.


















The villa's asymmetric plan orchestrates the lighting layout, hence the spacing of the three lamps along the south-facing cantilever, the one offset from the middle aligning with the building’s long axis. Save for this subtle lighting detail, the south façade's symmetry robustly counterbalances the asymmetrical arrangement that organises the north elevation.































This axial dynamic between the north and south facades parallels that between the heavy mass of the lower level and the lighter structure above, the former generating a connection with the earth, the latter with the sky. This is architecture exploring the communicative potential of construction. The result is a meticulously crafted dwelling, wholly equipped to endure the test of time.



























Villa S, Schriesheim, 2014
White cast in-situ concrete, slate, wood and bespoke lighting

















































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