Location: Stuttgart, Germany
Design date: 2008
Completion date: 2011
Site area: 1280m2
Built area: 920m2
Principle Architect: Ben van Berkel
Landscape architect: UNStudio /Atelier Dreiseitl GmbH, Überlingen
Construction Management landscape: Bautechnologie Lietzke, Ludwigsburg
Building biology: Building bioenergy (Baubioenerg), Building energy advice (Gebäudeenergieberatung), Kempten
Construction Management: G+O Architekten GmbH, Leinfelden-Echterdingen
Structural Engineer: Bollinger und Grohmann GmbH, Frankfurt
Structural engineer on site: Kraft Baustatik, Biesigheim
Lighting advisor: ag licht GbR, Bonn
Electrical: Aktive Partner Michael Blickle, Stuttgart
Heating/plumbing: Bauer & Ihle GmbH, Esslingen
Ventilation: Plangruppe Emhardt, Möglingen
Building physics advisor: Zuckriegl Engineering GmbH, Schorndorf
Project Team: Ben van Berkel, Caroline Bos, Astrid Piber with René Wysk, Kirsten Hollmann-Schröter and Cynthia Markhoff, Christian Bergmann, Jan Schellhoff, Iris Pastor, Rodrigo Cañizares, Albert Gnodde, Beatriz Zorzo Talavera, Shany Barath, Esteve Umbert Morits and Hannes Pfau
Audio/Video: Studio 26 Akustik- Entwicklungs- & Produktberatung, GmbH, Stuttgart
Photographer: Christian Richters, Iwan Baan
Text provided by the architects:
Increasingly, the architect-designed private house, once a professional mainstay, is becoming a rarity. Mass-customized versions can be found in abundance, but commissioning a genuinely bespoke unicum, designed in all its details during years of dialogues between client and architect, is a big undertaking. A custom-made house is like a portrait; it depicts its inhabitants while it moulds itself around their way of life. It is not surprising therefore that the owners of the Haus am Weinberg are passionate about architecture, as they are about many other things.
The typology of the ‘private family house’ mixes the private and the public domain in many ways. On the inside, the family house forms a microcosm of the private and the public, where the need exists for both shared spaces for gathering and personalised spaces for solitude. Similarly, whilst the home is widely seen as a private domain, it also needs to be connected to the immediate world around. The private family house therefore presents a number of contradictions, yet ultimately needs to attain the desired levels of both connection and retreat based on individual preferences. The degrees to and ways in which the private and the public are incorporated into the custom-made house depend upon the individual wishes of the client and present a challenge to the architect.
The parallax experience
The Haus am Weinberg is located in a setting that is at one time rural, yet suburban. The location of the villa affords pastoral views of the stepped terraces of an ancient hillside vineyard on one side and cityscape vistas on the other.
Whilst structurally the Haus am Weinberg and its garden landscaping reflect the strata and gradations of the nearby vineyard landscape, the true experience of the house is to be found from the inside out.
The house adopts a stereovisual spatial effect, acting almost as an optical instrument, whereby not a parallax view, but a parallax experience is created; an almost virtual replacement of the surrounding views is experienced as you move up and through the house. Moments of parity with the surrounding landscape from inside the house form a constant experiential connection and awareness of its immediate context.
Living according to the path of the sun
The inner circulation, organisation of the views and the programme distribution of the house are determined by a single gesture, ‘the twist’. In the Haus am Weinberg the central twist element supports the main staircase as it guides and organises the main flows through the house. The direction of each curve is determined by a set of diagonal movements. Whilst the programme distribution follows the path of the sun, each evolution in the twist leads to moments in which views to the outside become an integral experience of the interior.
This is enabled by the building’s load bearing concrete structure which is reduced to a minimum. Roof and slabs are supported by four elements only: elevator shaft, two pillars and one inner column. Through the large cantilever spans, a space is created which enables all four corners of the house to be glazed and column-free.
The house is entered from the South level, where the entrance hall, cloakroom, garage, wine cellar, guest room and guest suite are situated. From the entrance hall a diagonal staircase leads to the first floor, where the first view from the twist is encountered. A double-height, glazed corner - which houses the dining area - opens up to extensive views towards the North-West and frames the vineyard hill which forms the backdrop to the house. By means of sliding panes, this corner of the house can fully open up to further blur the boundaries between inside and outside. Within this first view the contour of the vineyard hill is further absorbed into the house by a gradual curve in the façade, which mirrors and flips the contour of the hill, as the glazing gradually transforms into the white opacity of the walls of the more private kitchen area.
Following the twist then leads further into the house and presents the second view from the living room, which is again extended by means of a fully glazed corner affording open vistas toward the nearby parklands to the South-West. From here the twist of the staircase continues up to the gallery space on the second floor. This gallery space, whilst retaining the feel of the more social part of the house, also provides a semi-private space for a library and reading area.
The third and fourth views from the twist are also encountered on this second level, where the master sleeping and wellness areas are located. Here the views open up, not only to include both the North-East and South-East corners, but also the entire East side of the second floor of the house. Whilst enclosed access between the sleeping and wellness areas is maintained, the peripheral corridor between the master suite and the wellness area is fully glazed, affording extensive views and maintaining a sense of openness, even in these otherwise more private areas of the house.
A white, light grouping of flowing spaces
The interior of the Haus am Weinberg is arranged into spaces of varying atmospheres and spatial qualities, with the four glazed and open corners allowing daylight to reach deep into the house. The dining/kitchen area is a large double height space with an open connection to the living area. The gallery on the second floor provides a semi-private, cosy library area which floats above the two more social areas beneath it and is partially open to the dining area below. The master sleeping area, dressing room, bathroom and wellness area - also located on the second floor - retain an atmosphere of privacy, yet avoid complete enclosure by means of extensive views and access to a large balcony.
The materialisation of the interior of the house further accentuates the overall atmosphere of light by means of natural oak flooring, natural stone and white clay stucco walls speckled with small fragments of reflective stone. Custom made features and furnishings are also integrated to blend with and accentuate the architecture. A white kitchen table/work surface extends from the kitchen to the garden terrace, mimicking the curves in the architecture and further accentuating the connection between the inside and the outside. Heating elements are housed in fully integrated coverings which follow the contours of the walls, whilst white adjustable panels in the walls can be swung or slid open to reveal multi media installations and storage spaces.
In contrast, at the core of this light and flowing structure is a multi-purpose darker room, dedicated to music, masculine conviviality, and the hunt. In this room the ceilings and walls have especially designed acoustic dark wood panels which transform from an articulated relief on the ceiling into a linear pattern as they descend the walls and meet the dark wooden floors. Together with the complementary coloured cabinetry this interior treatment creates the atmosphere of an intimate treasure chest. Next to a grand piano is a tiered plateau on which a group of hunting trophies is displayed. For some their presence is shocking, yet it forms an integral part of the distinct identity of the house. These trophies, which are also found in the kitchen, demonstrate that globalization does not necessarily imply homogenization; even within the short distances of North-Western Europe profound cultural differences can exist and can find expression in a house.
Integrating the landscape
Integration with the immediate surroundings is achieved by both the architecture and the garden landscaping. The volume and roofline of the Haus am Weinberg react and respond directly to the sloping landscape of the site, where the scales and inclinations of the slopes which sculpture the vineyard setting are reflected in the volumetric appearance of the house. As such, the roof becomes a fifth façade. On the lower South side the roof refers to the geometry of a traditional pitched roof. On the North side, towards the vineyard hill, the roof follows the line of the hill, creating a smooth transition from front to back.
A similar approach to the transition between the house and the vineyard hill is also appropriated for the design of the garden landscape. Extending the organisation of the house, the garden forms a continuation of the diagonals of the floor plans, with each division creating different zones for function and planting. The barbeque terrace, natural pool, swimming pool and varied planting, flowering and grassed areas continue the design of the house into the garden and towards the hill. A smooth transition is further achieved through materialisation. The zones nearest to the house employ prefab concrete and respond to the materialisation of the house, however as the garden moves closer to the hill, the materials change into natural stone.
The Haus am Weinberg extends and expands the experience of the landscape. Whilst it follows and corresponds with the existing lines and contours of the site, from the inside it creates the apparent replacement of the observed with the experience of the observer. As Lacan stated, “Still the picture is in my eye, but I am also in the picture”.
•structural work: Spahr-Bau GmbH, Sachsenheim
•formwork: Peri GmbH, Weissenhorn
•electrical/lighting equipment:Noz Elektrotechnik GmbH, Ludwigsburg
•ventilation: Kellenbenz Lüftungsbau GmbH, Erlenbach
•heating/sanitary: Gebrüder Renz GmbH, Kirchberg/Murr
•pool suppliers: WBT Schwimmbadtechnik GmbH, Heilbronn
•roof sealing, waterproofing: Heinrich Diezel GmbH, Tamm
•locksmith: Schlosserei Kirchknopf, Oberriexingen
•screed: Egon Hägele GmbH, Beilstein
•landscaper/outdoor: installations Garcke GmbH, Ingersheim
•carpentry: Beck Holzbau GmbH, p&p GmbH, Fürth/Odenwald, Fleiner Innenausbau GmbH, Leonberg, Mauer Holz- und Bauelemente, Sachsenheim
•wooden doors: Comtür Weimann GmbH, Heilbronn
•glass doors: Reli Glastechnologie, Eppingen-Rohrbach
•sauna builders: Spa+Design - Trends, Pfullingen
•sanitary equipment: Sanitär Wahl GmbH, Stuttgart
•elevator: Kone GmbH, Ludwigsburg
•garage door: Hans Sailer GmbH & Co.KG, Lauffen
•natural stone work: Kölner Marmorwerke GmbH, Köln
•wooden flooring: Emil Schwarz GmbH, Backnang
Substructure: reinforced concrete walls and floor slabs, Spahr-Bau, GmbH, Sachsenheim
Envelope: powder-coated aluminium facade, Ebener GmbH, Fassaden -Profiltechnik, Bad Marienberg
Glazing: Wagner Glas- und Metallbau GmbH, Albstadt (product: Skyframe/Wicona)
staircase: natural limestone: floors, walls, staircase, solid stone, constructions
•flooring: wooden oak floor
•ceilings:three-dimensional wooden ceiling: p&p GmbH, Fürth/Odenwald, gypsum ceiling: Soyez Stuckateur GmbH, Ilsfeld, acoustic ceiling: Soyez Stuckateur GmbH, Ilsfeld
•dry constructions, wall
finishes: clay rendering,
paintwork: Axel Soyez GmbH, Maler + Lackierer, Ilsfeld
Furnishings: (type and manufacturer)
•soft furniture: Architare Barbara Benz Einrichten GmbH + Co. KG, Nagold, Fleiner internationale Einrichtungen, Stuttgart
•kitchen appliances: Poggenpohl Forum GmbH, Stuttgart
•bathroom appliances: Viktoria & Albert
•fixtures and fittings:Vola, Dornbracht
•curtains track: Müllers Raumausstattung GmbH, Stuttgart (product: silent gliss)
•curtains: Fleiner Innenausbau GmbH, Leonberg
•crystal lighting: Windfall GmbH, München
•wooden dining table: e+h Meyer, Stuttgart
•acrylic kitchen counter: production p&p GmbH, Fürth/Odenwald; material Rehau
•wall cladding multi-purpose room: design UNStudio, production Fleiner Innenausbau GmbH, Leonberg
•natural stone fireplace surround: Kölner Marmorwerke GmbH, Köln
•fireplaces: Ofen Hermann, Marbach
• wooden staircase: Boxler Innenausbau & Bodendielen GmbH, Rammingen
•Interior twist element: p&p GmbH, Fürth/Odenwald
•concrete walls outside: Spahr-Bau GmbH, Sachsenheim
•backlit onyx shower: Kölner Marmorwerke GmbH, Köln
•anti-sun glass/solar glass: Glas Trösch Product: Sanco Silverstar Combi, 70/35
•heating system: combined heat and power plant with waste heat recovery system
•indoor climate: use of natural materials such as clay stucco finishings, permeable to water vapor, avoiding chemical evaporation, protective barriers against electromagnetic pollution