Private house, Esslingen
ESSLINGEN (DE) - 'Haus KW', located on the outskirts of the development area 'Mittlere Rosselen' in Esslingen, near Stuttgart, is a small family home (9.45 × 7.25 × 9.30 metres) half-built into the hillside amongst an old meadow orchard. As the building is nestled so tightly into this landscape, views on three elevations from inside the residence look out onto this scene. From the other perspective, the knobbly trees contrast with the unnatural grey concrete skin and precisely ordered windows. These trees give colour and break up the monotony of the facade.
The house is three storeys on the street elevation and two at the rear. As a result, Käß Hauschildt Architects designed it with the main living quarters on the first floor level so the big windows open onto the terrace and garden behind.
The house is entered on ground floor level. Stairs lead from the entrance hall to the living area on the first floor where the kitchen, living and dining room are arranged as a round trip around the central staircase, which cleverly incorporates a WC and adequate storage. The second floor accommodates the master bedroom, children's rooms and bathroom. Despite the compact floor plan, vistas across the complete building length into the surrounding landscape create a generous impression of the rooms.
The plain, self-supporting facade is very sturdy and timeless. The interior continues this bareness and is defined by white plaster block walls and exposed concrete ceilings. The doors, built-in furniture and kitchen are all white and blend in unobtrusively with the rooms. This is a simple design that is functional and unpretentious. Given the harshness of its materials and its full closing, fortress-like shutters, by day the building is surprisingly friendly and relaxed.
What is slightly strange is why, with such a small overall footprint, it was decided to have two rooms on the ground floor without any windows and natural daylight. This is, however, a minor point in a design that otherwise easily accommodates modern living: private, secure, light and space-effective.
Tuesday | 16 August | 2011 | Germany | Isabelle Priest