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.





















12 x12




















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 are left exposed.

The main social spaces, which comprise a L-shaped living and dining area on the ground floor (one of a number of 'L-shaped' configurations within the project) 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 insertion 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, deeply set windows give 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. While at the rear of the villa, the comprehensive fenestration - three full height glazing units for both the ground floor and first floor, and two for the top floor - exploits the building's south-facing aspect. In addition, generous glazing on the west elevation, to both the ground floor and top floor, ensure an ample supply of late afternoon/early evening sunlight.

Inside the villa, white walls and a coquina stone slab flooring surface enhance the light-filled interiors. The stone flooring extends out onto the adjoining L-shaped terrace, so bringing the outdoors in and vice versa.

































The inside-outside dynamic continues on the top floor, with full height glazing on three sides offering scenic views of the surrounding countryside, including the Taunus mountain range to the north. While diffused 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 the simple rectangular slot detailed in the overhang above the recessed entranceway together with the full-height sandblasted glass screen integrated within the front door design. These gently illuminate the hallway, thereby heightening the experiential impact of the villa's voluminous, south-facing 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 Baden-Württemberg, 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, the solidity and density of which is strikingly on show 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. On the north side, the first of these 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 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 elevated site commanding breath-taking scenery, all of which is elegantly framed and contained by the continuous inside-outside Brazilian slate flooring and the 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, which 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 design delivers both internal and external coverage, works within the structural parameters of the concrete ceilings, as well as importantly complementing 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. The unit sits flush to the ceiling, its visible aluminium edge and matt glass finish perfectly harmonizing with the surface of the concrete.



















The villa's offset 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 robustly counterbalances the asymmetrical arrangement that organises the north elevation.































This dialogue between the end compositions perfectly bookends the villa's earth-sky narrative. 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