17.11.2014 Virginia Zangs

Ode to in-situ concrete: House in Basel

All of a piece: In-situ concrete holds centre stage at "Bläsiring", a multi-family house designed by Buchner Bründler Architects in Basel. Both indoor and outdoor walls show the textural imprint of longitudinal wooden shuttering, and even some of the fixtures are cast in concrete.

Architect: Buchner Bründler Architekten, Basel
Location: Bläsiring 124, 4057 Basel, Switzerland
In Basel's Matthäus district, a residential tower rises between two smaller adjacent houses to almost archaic effect. The contrast between the modern architecture and the existing houses to the right and left is striking, yet seen within a regional context the fair-faced concrete building with its five storeys and roof parapet fits in well with the local townscape.
The narrow plot six metres in width required a design offering vertical staggering as an efficient constructional solution. Two interlocking apartments, each provided with an entrance of their own as well as access to the garden and terraces, are thus organised over three floors of the building.

The long, strung-out floor plans 72 square metres in size solely gain daylight from the north and south, there being no openings in the walls to the sides. Sliding doors enable sill-less flooring, and along with shelved walls divide the apartments into zones. The room-high windows framed in oak introduce daylight into the interior and at the same time underscore the rectangular floor plan. Tubular luminaires mounted in places along the edge of the ceilings provide additional lighting while bringing out the tactile surface structure of the site-cast walls.

The building seems all of a piece. The formwork used to cast the concrete has left a visible imprint in the form of the wood grain of the shuttering. Certain fixtures, such as kitchen shelves and bath bubs are also cast in-situ concrete, and as part of a homogenous volume merge into the overall structure of the house.
Project data

Client: Baugesellschaft Bläsing, Basel
Structural engineer:
Jürg Merz Ingenieurbüro
Acoustic and building physics: Martin Lienhard Bau- & Raumakustik
Completion: 2012
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