Architecture / Interior Design / Light planning: Philippe Stuebi Architekten GmbH, ZuÌrich with Eberhard Tröger
Planning and construction time: 2003-2007
Location: Vierwaldstattersee in Switzerland
Collaborators: Eberhard Tröger (Projektleitung / Project architect), Gabi Eichenberger, Sven Bestenheider, Christine Heimgartner, Philippe Stuebi
Landscape architecture: Kuhn Truninger Landschaftsarchitekten GmbH, ZuÌrich, Richard Truninger
Implementation Planning / Site manager: TGS Architekten, Luzern
Structural Engineer: CES Bauingenieur AG, Hergiswil
Building Physics: Wichser Akustik + Bauphysik AG
Photography: Dominique Marc Wehrli
There are architects who follow form, function, symmetry and stay within these perimeters. Then there are those who break barriers, challenge the known compositions and work with inspiration as the prime factor, an inspiration which works as the compass leading to the path of completion. These architects have a ‘make or break with no silver lining’ existence. If their work is not successful, all is lost, however if it succeeds you come across a project that works as a guide and opens doors so that many others can be inspired with no barriers.
The office known as Philippe Stuebi Architects GMBH based in Zurich, is a practice which has proven exactly that. Founded in 1996 by Philippe Stuebi himself, the prime focus of the firm was to create a ‘networked architecture’ linking lifestyle, ecology & economics with the finest interior detailing. This has proved to be a successful recipe which has been diligently followed to this very day.
We were confronted with all of the above and much more when we came across their very famous residence known as ‘House at Vierwaldstattersee’ in Switzerland. Together with Eberhard Tröger, they designed a residence by a lake which is truly unique. This project is a residential gem incorporating, through its design, a lifestyle which has been admired by many. Looking at the exterior, you are brought into a Hollywood set reality (if such a thing exists) were the classic red Ferrari at the entrance, a tall handsome gentleman with Ray Ban sunglasses and Gucci suede loafers steps outside and greets his most recent femme fatale love affair dressed in Rodarte. There he artfully holds a martini and is ready for passion. CUT.
Let’s talk architecture!
On both the front and lake side, this sculptural villa is clad with a very expensive ornamental façade. Facing Mount Pilatus, the white concrete elements are dotted with circular openings that allow glimpses of the lounge, the guest tract, the staircase accessing through one of the openings on the ground floor and the two- levelled orangery with its exotic plants. Even though the complete surrounding façade is solid, the outside is brought in throughout the interior mainly through these surrounding plants. Through the glazed openings, it is almost as though all this greenery is outside reflected on to the circular motifs.
From the lake side views you see the superb Rigi and Burgenstock mountains through a protruding glistering loggia made of round glass bricks. Such decorative elements are a strong contrast to the rough renderings of the south façade. The basement nestles along the slope and opens into a large fitness area with a 25 meter pool half inside/half outside which is inserted in a white Terrazzo plate. This plate extends gracefully from the pool bar located inside along the super impressive boathouse made of white tinted, rough jetted concrete leading to Lake Lucerne.
The main house’s interior is simplistic, consisting of elegant white as its prime colour leaving the sculptural forms of the façade to act as the main feature. The shape and forms reflected throughout all the residence’s spaces as the light of the day changes combine to make up another exhilarating feature. This reaches its zenith with the famous Aura chandeliers which act as a main form within the interior. According to the hour of the day, once you switch on these chandeliers, their shape and movement is reflected on the walls creating formed shadows and adding to the whole character of the house.
Other then the architectural form of the exterior reflecting inside, the whole is kept in a simplistic timeless style. With even white window framing blending into the walls the only other finish is the wood flooring which as a finish also prevails in certain limited partitions. Nothing else is needed within, as the views from around the main hosting areas and the bedroom are breathtaking, with ample circulation space and great starkness.
Through its very successful architectural design, this residence possesses a great character both inside and out. A strong character which is at the same time discreet and highly admired this house is a tribute to both a high end design detail and lifestyle. In conclusion, there are just three words which incorporate all that this project stands for and these magic words are DETAILING DETAILING DETAILING.
photo © Dominique Marc Wehrli