When some agricultural buildings existing on the site had to be demolished because they had reached the end of their lifetime, the owner's family, who have their roots in Schwaikheim, felt obliged to create contemporary apartments urgently needed in the Stuttgart region, while at the same time strengthening the character of the town center.
The decision to use wood as a building material was an obvious one - not only because the planning team committed itself to local building traditions and the principles of sustainable construction, but also because the client is a trained carpenter.
This approach led to the construction of a three-storey apartment building, supplemented by a tractor shed, which the family needs for their part-time farming, but which also allows the client to work on smaller jobs in his original profession.
Both parts of the building rest on a connecting massive base which mediates the height difference and slope of the existing ground plane towards the garden. The two strucutres, which are identical in their gable profiles but of different heights and lengths, are placed in relation to each other as to form a foreyard which serves as work space as well as an extension of the streetscape. The dark timber façade and the rough textured concrete are reminiscent of the surrounding context and the original building on the site.
All apartments open generously to the south, which, together with the highly insulated building envelope and an efficient heat pump, ensures the heat energy requirements comply with the minimum usage according to the KfW energy efficiency standards. With the addition of a PV system on the optimally oriented south-facing roof, the house can cover a large part of its energy requirements for heating and hot water itself on an annual basis.