Formerly a freight railway station, the eastern part has been developed into a residential area called Erlenmatt East with several buildings bordering a park. Erlenmatt East was initiated by the Habitat Foundation, which also specified construction guidelines for it. The building rights to one lot were allocated to the cooperative “Zimmerfrei”, which it aimed to use to create affordable living space with a focus on community, sustainability and modesty. The planning and building process involved participation of the members of the cooperative.
The aim was to create a community through the residential house and to encourage a natural exchange among residents. Apartment floor plans are modest, yet create a sense of spaciousness, due to their simple structure and two-sided orientation. Living is private towards the Erlenmattpark, and socially active towards the Erlenmatthof, because the apartments can be reached via access balconies. These are intended for social interaction and are to be frequented by the residents, much like a personal veranda. The extension of living spaces to public areas will make the access balconies attractive to spend time in. The rather small-sized apartments are supplemented by central communal spaces such as a lobby, roof terrace, workshop, music and laundry rooms as well as guest rooms. A consistent simplicity of the circulation through the access balconies, and optimal utilisation of the prescribed sizes of the apartments by doing without corridors, has produced sustainable housing. This design offers a large number of accommodation types for various phases of life and urban life styles. The spectrum includes classical family apartments as well as cluster structures for residential communities.
From the socially as well as architecturally connecting access balcony, apartments are entered directly via an eat-in kitchen facing the yard. This is designed using Aleppo pine plywood painted in the colour requested by the residents. The level of privacy increases in the direction of the adjoining living area and bedrooms towards the quiet Erlenmattpark. All the apartments are illuminated from two sides resulting in the best possible lighting conditions. This equivalence means that no one is disadvantaged. The financial aspect, which is of importance for a cooperative building of this kind, was respected in the realisation and material selection of the building. The multi-layered facade is dominated by industrial materials that are long-lived while requiring minimal maintenance. The original character of the place is reflected by industrial-grade aluminium, corrugated fibre cement panels, galvanised elements and corrugated acrylic
panels. Their immediacy endows the house with a haptic as well as lively character. Green transparent corrugated sheets clad the house in horizontal bands, making the layering clearly legible. Generous sun sails impart the structure with a sense of lightness, while two open stairwells at the narrow ends of the angular building create a sculptural effect. For cost reasons, the house itself is a hybrid construction composed of a solid concrete structure with a wooden facade.
Client: Wohngenossenschaft Zimmerfrei (Residential Cooperative Zimmerfrei), Basel
Partners: Daniel Buchner, Andreas Bründler
Associate competition: Raphaela Schacher
Associate project planning: Stefan Oehy
Project management: Daniel Ebertshäuser, Norma Tollmann
Staff competition: Benjamin Hofmann, Flurin Arquint, Benedict Choquard
Staff realization: Tünde König, Omri Levy, Henrik Månsson, Jonas Hamberger, Pascal Berchtold, Benedict Choquard, Lennart Cleemann, Jakob Rabe Petersen