Wild Bär Heule Architekten

Winterthur Residential Tower

Wild Bär Heule Architekten
16. August 2017
Open stair tower in the foreground connects the four residential studios to the communal roof terrace. (Photo: Roger Frei)

Wild Bär Heule Architekten recently completed a residential tower in Winterthur. Architect Ivar Heule answers our questions.

Type of commission: Direct commission
Owner: Private
Architect: Wild Bär Heule Architekten, Zurich/ZH | Collaboration: Christa Lippuner
Specialist planners: Schärli + Oettli AG, civil engineering, Zurich/ZH | Steigmeier Akustik + Bauphysik GmbH, Baden/AG | Frei Partner Haustechnikplanung GmbH, Baden/AG
Construction management Robauen GmbH, Winterthur/ZH
Year of completion: 2017
Construction costs: BKP 2 CHF 1.9 million
Building volume: 1,600 m³
Price per m3: CHF 1,185/m³
Art in architecture: creator Beni Bischof, St. Gallen/SG (Permanent marker on concrete)
Main stakeholders: Krapf AG, metal and façade construction, Engelburg/SG | BWT Bau AG, Winterthur/ZH | Furrer Schreinerei + Küchenbau AG, Wila/ZH | Heierli Partner AG | Haustechnik, Dübendorf/ZH | Mayrstrom, Winterthur/ZH | Repoxit AG, Illnau Effretikon/ZH | Brun de Re Terrazzo AG, Fällanden/ZH | Rohr Cheminée- und Ofenbau, Wallisellen/ZH
Photos: Roger Frei, Zurich

The entrance comprises a hot-dip galvanized gate and untreated lift. (Photo: Roger Frei)

What makes this project special?
Despite the limited plot size of just 400 m2, which was used to create four minimalistic residential studios, there is an openness and expansiveness to the building thanks to the open layout, spacious built-in furniture and a completely glazed curtain wall combined with exterior structural steel beams.

What inspired this project?

  • The shell and skeleton of the Farnsworth House from 1950/51 in Illinois.
  • The convertible layout of the Schröder House from 1921 in Utrecht.
  • The plasticity of the concrete structure by Carlo Vivarelli from 1967-69 at Rämistrasse 71 in Zurich for the stair tower.

Open stair tower with different views creates a point of orientation. (Photo: Roger Frei)

How did the location impact the design?
The limited plot led us to develop vertically, and the industrial nature of the nearby Sulzer Areal influenced the materials.

To what extent did the owner, client or later users influence the design?
The design was not created for "the renter" but for open-minded, independent residents. 

The view from the living area of the kitchen units made of black, oiled plywood in maritime pine. (Photo: Roger Frei)

Was the project influenced by current bold, constructive or creative design trends?
"Reversed" floor heating that absorbs warmth from the sun in the atmosphere and recycles it in the floor and automatic shading control are utilised instead of an energy-intensive air conditioning system.

​What product or material contributed to the success of the completed construction?
The curtain wall by air-lux with pneumatically sealed sliding windows in bare aluminum. 

Bay window room with a view of the inner courtyard and ceiling-to-floor nets as fall protection in front of the sliding windows. (Photo: Roger Frei)
The bathroom is separated by furniture fronts. The cement rear wall has been sanded so that the grain is visible. (Photo: Roger Frei)
The view from the sleeping berth towards the bathroom. Separated by built-in cabinets. The passage is transformed into a dressing room. (Photo: Roger Frei)
The imperfect concrete in the stairwell engages your mind with doodles by artist Beni Bischof and makes you forget you’re climbing stairs. (Photo: Archive, Wild Bär Heule Architekten)
Roof terrace with fireplace and quince tree accessible to all residents. (Photo: Roger Frei)
Unpretentious view of the neighborhood. (Photo: Roger Frei)
The pre-installed curtains are put to more use in the evenings. (Photo: Roger Frei)

This article originally appeared as "Verdichtung im Hinterhof" on Swiss-Architects.

Location Plan (Drawing: Wild Bär Heule Architekten)
Ground Floor Plan (Drawing: Wild Bär Heule Architekten)
First Floor Plan (Drawing: Wild Bär Heule Architekten)
Top Floor Plan (Drawing: Wild Bär Heule Architekten)

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