Architects: Barbara Neff, Bettina Neumann
Photos by: Roger Frei
Typology: Collective housing
Location: Dollikerstrasse, Meilen
Date: 2012 – 2014

The site is surrounded by a heterogeneous mix of urban typologies. Small scale fragmented historical buildings contrast with larger industrial buildings. The new building is situated within the park of a stately country house that borders a gentle stream. At the edge of the historical village, within walking distance to the shores of Lake Zurich, the interaction between the compact, low volume of the new building, the historic main building, and the garden generates a concise ensemble. The site specific constellation of site-depth, orientation, and architectural placing lead to a building depth of 21 metres. The innermost rooms are lit by courtyards. Each apartment gets its typical character from the meandering living area that wraps itself around the courtyard and flows by way of the loggia into the garden. The courtyards are covered in glass mosaic tiles and not only allow for interesting views between the loggia, kitchen and living-room areas, but also create a very unique athmosphere. The actual floor area of the apartments is comparatively small due to economic restraints. However, by avoiding large circulation spaces, and focusing on meticulous placement of the rooms in the plan and the aesthetic qualities of the courtyards, the apartments feel very spacious.
The artistic expression of the facade is mainly achieved by the corrugated eternit facade. The dark green coloring is meant to mirror the colors of the lake and the surrounding landscape. Eternit as a material seems ephemeral and robust alike, and gives the building the appearance of a garden shed. The timber cross-wall construction reflects the building typology and structurally supports the very deep, two-sided floor-plans. The landscaping is intended to underline the architectural idea by surrounding the building with a stately roadside garden and the use of local landscape elements towards the little stream.