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 panoramic 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 neighbours. From the street, the building’s front façade looks and feels impenetrable: the entranceway is recessed; the first floor, windowless; and the fenestration to the second floor, well set back. By contrast, the rear elevation is fully glazed.


















Structurally, the building comprises a cast in-situ concrete frame with an infill wall composition of high insulation clay blocks. At 450 mm thick, these comfortably deliver 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. Floor to ceiling heights are generous, measuring 2.4m, 2.8m, 2.6m and 2.4m from the lower ground level to the second floor respectively. And in line with the villa's elemental aesthetic, all the concrete ceilings have been left exposed.

The main social spaces, which comprise a L-shaped living and dining area on the ground floor (one of a series 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 structural framework allows for the delivery of a dramatic double height space (6m x 6m x 3.4m), which articulates these rooms as one large, interconnected, light-filled interior.



















At the front of the house, a symmetrical spatial and fenestration plan organises the two first-floor bedrooms with en-suite wet rooms. Here, and throughout the scheme, the use of deeply set glazing gives the building a real sense of depth and stature.

This depth and stature is also very much evident in the sizeable, sunken, trapezoidal-shaped courtyard that abuts 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 the full-height, L-shaped glazing arrangement.

At the rear of the villa, three full height glazed units for both the ground floor and first floor, and two for the top floor, exploit the building's south-facing aspect. While, on the west facing side, two substantial oblong glazed units - one each for the ground floor and top floor - ensure an ample supply of late afternoon/early evening sunlight.

Throughout the interiors a coquina stone slab flooring surface complements the quality of light within. And at the rear of the villa, this flooring extends out onto the adjoining L-shaped terrace, so bringing the outdoors in and vice versa.

































Building on this inside-outside dynamic, the similarly L-shaped top floor configuration enables the house 'to step outside' its immediate location. Its 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 fenestration.

This delicate use of light is equally on show at the front of the house, courtesy of a rectangular slot detailed in the overhang above the recessed entranceway and a full-height sandblasted glass screen integrated within the entrance design. These gently illuminate the hallway, so maximising the impact of the villa's voluminous, light-filled main living space.























Villa W,  Frankfurt am Main
High insulation clay blocks, cast in-situ concrete, glass and sandstone
Completion: autumn 2016
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 panoramic 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.

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 a double concrete wall system, strikingly disseminated at the front of the house courtesy of the deeply set glazing. Structurally, the internal walls are loadbearing, allowing the outer walls 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, 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 heights measure 2.6m for the lower level and 2.85m for the ground floor.

















From a volumetric standpoint, the main living area takes centre stage, its spatial grandeur and expansive vistas elegantly framed and contained by the continuous inside-outside Brazilian slate flooring and the roof's south-facing 2.6m cantilever. On the north side of the building, an equally bold tectonic display emphatically defines the entranceway, with a seemingly gravity defying open canopy that delivers a dynamic interplay of light and shadow.

























This clarity of composition is further enriched by the Meranti doors and window frames, which provide a strong aesthetic counterpoint to the white concrete while elegantly complementing the slate flooring, used throughout the scheme, and the opaque matt glass panels that form part of the fenestration.

Within this framework, the building's bespoke light fitting 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 couldn't meet these requirements, hence the project developing its 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 off-set long axis 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 said axis. Save for this subtle lighting detail, the south façade's symmetry provides a robust counterbalance to the asymmetrical arrangement that organises the north elevation.































This dialogue between the end compositions is, in turn, counterbalanced by the relationship 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. In essence, this is architecture as visceral, experiential space; a celebration of building, dwelling and place-making.



























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