Into the woods: a timber-clad Swiss home brings the outside in
Switzerland’s striking natural landscape offers many picture-perfect views – but Gautschi Lenzin Schenker Architekten’s ’House in Rombach’ was designed to make particular use of its bucolic setting. Located in a suburb at the edge of Aarau, the capital of Aargau canton, the area’s green vistas took centre stage in the design process. Subsequently, the team focussed on creating a generous top floor, from which the owners and their guests can take in the area’s picturesque scenery.
The house’s location – at the foot of the Jura mountains – and local planning regulations were crucial to the massing’s development. The result is an elegant, monolithic block clad in rough, oil-treated Red Cedar planks, punctuated by minimalist, square black-framed windows. The timber cladding’s vertical orientation leads the gaze up, adding a lightness to the robust volume. In time, this facade will develop a deep grey patina.
Designed as a family home, the building can also be divided into two separate apartments, as per the client’s request for added flexibility. The structure spans four levels: the ground floor boasts a garage, two bedrooms and two bathrooms, and a spacious first floor factors a master bedroom, two offices, a conservatory, bathroom and games room. A basement level features a cellar and service areas.
However, the structure’s top floor is its real showpiece. Spanning the entire level, the space houses a large living and dining room, flanked by two terraces, for increased natural light and ventilation. Raised timber panels, in place of railings, keep prying eyes at bay, while also framing views of the rugged, mountainous horizon and the city’s skyline.
Special attention to construction detail ensures the house looks sharp. Wooden grating in Moabi wood on the outdoor areas and a copper sheet roof complement the timber outer skin. Built-in furniture maximises space in the concrete, timber and white plaster interior. The ground level’s garage door is carefully crafted so that it blends into the surrounding walls, becoming invisible. Two sets of stairs and a lift streamline movement in a house that already offers superlative grace and functionality.