Greifensee House, Switzerland – Swiss Property

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Gross House : Greifensee Architecture

Building in Switzerland – design by EM2N, Architects

Greifensee Property

Gross House

Greifensee, north of Zurich
2008
Design: EM2N

Direct commission Winter 2003

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Gross House Conversion – Project Description

In fact, all the clients originally wanted was a larger living room window – now their three children live in a patio house of their own.

From a present-day perspective the use of space in this 1960s development of single-storey row houses with basement seems wasteful. The layout of the estate is far from dense, and in terms of the density permitted by the building regulations there are reserves of potentially usable space. But exploiting the permitted density means conducting intensive negotiations with all neighbours affected before any new building project can be started.

As, according to the building regulations, underground buildings do not count as utilization of space, we suggested to the clients making an underground patio house as a “second house” of their own. So we place an independent underground patio house beside the existing house, without adding a single square metre of surface area above ground thus eliminating the necessity of obtaining the neighbours’ approval.

While two differently shaped courtyards are incised in the garden, the new bedrooms and a bathroom are attached to the existing basement. A former crawl space was converted into a home cinema and new hobby room. A huge screen fills one of the narrow sides of the room while the opposite wall is completely covered with mirrored-glass. Backlit panels with cut-out patterns are located on the side walls, offering specific lighting situations depending on different uses.

A narrow stairs connects the upper house with the lower one. The gaze is directed through the new south window into the garden. The garden is cleared out almost completely and later filled up again. Through large areas of glazing in the patio and the new windows on the ground floor the principal orientation of the house is now south-west.

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The courtyards are painted white to transport the maximum amount of light. The bays between the railing uprights are filled with a transparent mesh material. Two circular roof lights provide additional light for the children’s bedrooms. They can be closed off with horizontal sliding shutters.

The house and the garden interlock. The increased amount of space underground allowed separate rooms at ground floor level to be combined increasing the size of the living room and giving this initially small and compartmented house a certain expansiveness and generosity.

Gross House Conversion – Building Information

Project Name: Gross House Conversion
Location: Greifensee, north of Zurich
Client: private
Project Type: Building
Architects: EM2N : Mathias Mueller / Daniel Niggli, Zurich
Structural Engineers: Tragwerk Bauingenieure GmbH, Zurich

Gross House – Dates:
Direct commission Winter 2003
Start of construction Apr 2004
Completion Jan 2008 (second stage)
Total Floor Area:
new building part basement 67 m2
conversion ground floor 127 m2
Costs: EUR 0.55 Mio

Greifensee house architect : EM2N

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Greifensee house Photos © Hannes Henz
Architekturfotograf, Langmauerstrasse 42, CH-8006 Zürich, Switzerland
T ++41 43 255 08 30 F ++41 43 255 08 31 M ++41 79 228 28 80
hanneshenz(at)freesurf.ch

Greifensee residence images / information from EM2N

EM2N


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