13.03.2015 Annika Schröck

Sculptural supports: House on the Sarnersee

Photo: Karin Gauch, Fabien Schwartz

Just in front of a spectacular mountain panorama on the shore of Switzerland’s Sarnersee, there is a small house covered with a tent-shaped roof. In terms of colour and shape, this building by Atelier Scheidegger Keller fits inconspicuously into the surrounding structures; both exterior and interior become part of the landscape.

Architect: Atelier Scheidegger Keller, Zurich
Location: Sarnersee, Wilen, 6062 Sarnen, Switzerland
The shore along the Sarnersee is characterized by terracing and embankments which support the steep shore. These topographical conditions have been repeated in the interior of the house. For Atelier Scheidegger Keller, they were the starting point for their design concept: a single large space is zoned through three slightly offset floor areas which simultaneously maintain the open feeling of the space and create a division into different functional areas. The upper terrace serves as kitchen and dining room; the middle one as a living room, and the lowest as a bedroom. Hidden beneath the kitchen, there is a bathroom.
The terraced space is completely surrounded by glazing, making the mountains, lake and landscape part of the interior. A large, tent-like roof seems to float above the house, creating an “open and composed, heavy and light, high and broad” effect. The broad roof is covered in folded rhombic sheets leading to the slender eaves. Thanks to these jutting eaves, the view from the house has a wide horizon, as does the surface of the water.
The roof was created from prefabricated concrete elements and mullions cast in in-situ concrete. Two Y-shaped supports whose shape results from the constructive and geometrical structure of the roof function as the only connection to the floor. Furthermore, these sculptural supports, which continue the geometrical pattern created by the roof, form the only spatial orientation in the entire one-room building. The visible joists and negative spaces of the roof’s underside are reminiscent of the roof’s design and create a larger-than-life ornamental covering for the whole interior. 
The sleek, simple exterior of the house surprises visitors with its unusual spatial treatment, which was determined as much by topography as by structural considerations. Terracing and a visible support structure reveal a complex single-room solution complemented by the two dominating, sculptural Y-supports. Focus on the most significant building components means that architecture and landscape are an ever-present feature, even in the interior of the house.
For their first realized project, Atelier Scheidegger Keller have been awarded with the »Bauwelt Award 2015«.
Project data

Team: Christian Scheidegger, Martin Kugelmeier
Civil engineering: Monotti ingegneri consulenti SA, Locarno
Fotography and film: Karin Gauch & Fabien Schwartz
Fotography construction site: Atelier Scheidegger Keller
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