Duplex brings two houses together as a single, raw, theatrical home in Leipzig

Duplex by Atelier ST is a raw and textured family home born of the transformation of two smaller residential buildings in Leipzig, Germany

hero exterior of concrete Duplex by Atelier ST
(Image credit: Clemens Poloczek)

'Duplex' seems something of a misnomer for this single-family house outside Leipzig – until you investigate further. Fusing two petite gable-roofed houses into one ample home, the architects Atelier ST doubled down on the syncopated shift of the property’s original footprint. Opening up the two volumes with a series of split levels, they created a conversation between lateral counterparts, introducing an easy flow of space and purpose. 

interior with raw concrete at Duplex by Atelier ST

(Image credit: Clemens Poloczek)

Duplex: a raw home echoing its residents' taste

The project represents a homecoming for the clients, who’d set out years earlier for careers in the city. Returning to the northeastern suburb of Leipzig-Portitz, they brought an appreciation for unconventional design and a real fondness for the converted school they’d been living in. The arch motif that defines the windows and doorways at Duplex nods to the barrel vault of the school’s former auditorium. The graphic curves and their wooden inserts filter natural light through the lush surrounds and into the meandering spaces in ever-evolving patterns. 

round door at Duplex by Atelier ST

(Image credit: Clemens Poloczek)

In the hands of Silvia Schellenberg-Thaut and Sebastian Thaut, the couple behind Atelier ST, the new house puts on a straightforward façade. The exposed board-formed concrete structure, while breaking with the community standard, sits simply and comfortably within the surrounding woodland. It takes up no more space than its neighbours. It doesn’t try to prove itself. 

living space in Duplex by Atelier ST

(Image credit: Clemens Poloczek)

Yet it belies the complex sequence of spaces within. Connected by those archways – or 'portals', in the architects’ parlance – the rooms are in a constant state of flux. Beginning in the open-plan kitchen and dining room, they swing between levels with dynamic efficiency, each one a few steps from the next. 

arch inside Duplex by Atelier ST

(Image credit: Clemens Poloczek)

The transitions are easy yet definitive, offering new views and perspectives. Even the shallow staircase leading up to the private quarters, much longer than the others, makes a gentle progression while playing with the elongated framework of the house.

inside Duplex by Atelier ST

(Image credit: Clemens Poloczek)

Up here, too, the rooms maintain a close concert with one another. Still, the master suite takes on a hallowed, secluded quality, even though the children’s rooms, office and guest quarters are just a few steps above, on the upper level. The nursery focuses outward through the porthole window to a cluster of fruit trees. 

bedroom at Duplex by Atelier ST

(Image credit: Clemens Poloczek)

Concrete infiltrates every space, whether in the flooring, built-in furnishings or the two bracing walls that run up through the core. And yet Duplex never gets cold.

bathroom at Duplex by Atelier ST

(Image credit: Clemens Poloczek)

Practically, ST experimented with thermal 'hemplime' insulation plastered with natural clay, an energy-efficient solution that also helps cool the house in summer. The natural palette and woody accents go a long way toward the warm, hospitable feeling that very much blends in with the neighbourhood. 

exteropr of Duplex by Atelier ST

(Image credit: Clemens Poloczek)