Thursday, November 11, 2010

The Wohlfahrt-Laymann House | Frankfurt,Germany | Meixner Schlüter Wendt Architekten

Project data:
client: Jürgen und Juliane Wohlfahrt-Laymann
project size: approx. 300 sqm
start of construction: 2005
completion: 2006

The Wohlfahrt-Laymann dwelling is situated in a heterogeneous residential area in the Taunus hills area outside Frankfurt am Main – a high property value neighbourhood.
The house which was already present on the site was built in the 1930s and the first idea was to replace this building with a larger house.
However, after a detailed inspection of the site and the quality of this very picturesque, traditional „simple country cottage“, the idea was born to use this existing building as the initial point for further planning.
The concept of a complex transformation of this archetypical house is developed out of the necessity for both extensions and the optimisation of the building physics.
In fact a new shell is built round this house – thus a new interior and intermediate space is created which can be used as new room.
The position of the shell and thus its individual distance at different points from the „inner“ house is dictated by the functional requirements of the ground plan structure.
The inner house is opened or rather broken open where light or space are required for its interior – these light or room extensions are projected onto the outer shell in the form of „light connections“ or „space connections“ and transferred to this as perforations.
The roof of the inner house is opened – the rooms in the roof are extended upward with vertical spacing connections.
Inner/ outer/ intermediate/ and un-rooms of manifold and sometimes „curious“ kinds are generated. Complex and seemingly simple rooms alternate with each other.
Paradoxes occur – from inside and outside – a seemingly normal reality becomes distorted.
A simple, traditional „cottage in the country“ which originated as a matter-of-course is dissolved, transformed and simultaneously fortified – in the sense of a metamorphosis.
There are analogies e.g. to the „House Ur“ from Gregor Schneider (Biennale Venice 2003 - German Pavilion) and works by Gordon Matta-Clark.
The concept of the conversion becomes viable and sensible due to the fact that the proportions of the existing house can be „coated“ with a shell construction of normal dimensions and because the existing structure of the inner house is used very efficiently - in particular the previously unused roof area can be extended very efficiently.
The solid shell represents an optimum upgrading of the building physics due to the - in this respect – inadequately thin original wooden walls.
The inner house becomes a „wooden insert/furnishing within a shell which is in accordance with the modern achievements of building physics.
The form of the light and space connections and their perforated outlines on the facade, are derived from the existing openings of the inner house, the new necessary apertures or the superimposition of both old and new openings.
The colour concept distinguishes between the elements house – space connections – shell; intending a rather more abstract legibility of the transformation.
The dark brown earth covering the garden is apparently continued in the equally dark brown flooring of the terrace and the parquet floor inside the house.
The grey-green colouring of the outer shell integrates well into the colours of the surrounding woodlands.......more

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