House D by HHF Architects

HHF Makes Extravagant Look Simple

Just southeast of Basel, a capacious house hides behind its minimalism, recalling the vernacular of Japanese homes – except this one’s in Switzerland.

Partially sunken into its generous site, the house designed by HHF Architects includes three bedrooms with bathrooms en suite, an open-plan living and dining area that occupies an entire level, a large terrace-and-pool area, a private car park and a gym. Unpretentiously arranged, the dwelling’s spare interior extends over three floors and spills into the vast outdoors on all sides of the building.

Further reinforcing the notion of simplicity, House D features three very ordinary building materials – wood, concrete and glass – left in a raw state. The recessed ground floor is wrapped in glazing, allowing occupants to profit fully from the surrounding verdant landscape and mature fruit trees. Glass walls also distinguish this volume from the timber-clad exterior above. Inside, bare concrete walls underpin the emphasis on unadorned construction, as does the exposed underside of the pitched roof.

Often we associate comfortable living with bespoke design, complicated detailing and ostentatious materials. HHF Architects completely avoids this line of thinking. Here the firm challenges the suggestion that lavish materials and high-tech fixtures are a prerequisite for luxury living. Instead, the architects opt for an ordinary palette of materials and details and push the possibilities.

A system of perforated curtains hangs from a rail that encompasses the ground floor, creating a light-filled yet secluded enclosure if desired. Irregularly angled doorways follow the pitch of the roof – just one more example of the architects’ consistent attention to subtle nuances in detail. The resulting spaces are simple, sophisticated and anything but standard.

Photos courtesy Tom Bisig.

*You can see this story and others in the December/January 2013 issue of Mark. Click here to purchase.*

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