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By Ellie Stathaki
The home of a young South African family living in Switzerland, this new build by Barcelona- and Zurich-based architect Gus Wüstemann is situated in the village of Erlenbach, outside Zurich.
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The site, on a slope along the lake, offers beautifully long views, which the clients were determined to make the most of. Adding to the design challenge, they also asked for a mostly horizontal house, on level with the garden, rather than a structure favouring vertical living.
The architect responded by stretching out along the periphery of the property, placing the main house at the top of the slope and the pool house below. Two stone-lined verandas - from which the house gets its name - link the two volumes via a wide, cascading staircase. At the centre of the landscape is where he placed the planted courtyard.
The main residence is made predominantly of stone and concrete, with interior details crafted from travertine and wood; Wüstemann favours natural, textured materials. The broad, two-level dwelling includes living and entertaining areas on the top, facing the street, open to carefully framed views to Lake Zurich and overlooked by skylights. The bedrooms downstairs look towards the courtyard, each separated from the other by a wooden 'curtain'. A lower-ground floor hosts a gym, screening room and wine cellar.
Wüstemann gave the structure an almost Mediterranean feel with wide, open spaces that give on to the outdoors. Immense floor-to-ceiling openings with glass walls in the place of windows highlight the house's relationship to its forested surroundings. Playing with textures instead of colours and keeping the volumes low and flexible, the architect produced a large, comfortably minimal house fit for modern living.
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