On the slopes just outside of Zurich, in an affluent neighborhood of single family homes, a client with an inherited property has a vision. Rather than adhere to common practice and contribute not only to ongoing sprawl but also to the shortage of affordable housing, he dreams of building a small tight knit community of multi-generational tenants on his single lot. Preferencing smaller and therefore more affordable units, the building is composed of five radically different unit types housed under the guise of a single villa – a stealth density that evades the prejudices of neighbors.
A gable roof allows the form to fit into the context while its ridge radically follows the slope of the terrain, maximizing buildable volume in a dumb replica of the zoning diagram. At the same time, an exaggerated eave cantilevering towards the south gives the building its distinctive character and a sheltered outdoor space for the garden unit.
Inside, the floors step with the landscape in a series of split levels that give spatial richness to the apartments. Each apartment has a private outdoor space while a variety of window types offer different relationships to the surroundings and at the same time mask the scale of the building.