Studio for a couturière
Shadi Rahbaran, Rahbaran Hürzeler Architekten, Basel, Switzerland
Heike Egli-Erhart, Antje Käser-Wassmer, Johann Christoph Model, Nico Ros, Sali Sadikaj
This project began with the client's wish to move her couturière studio from the city into her country residence. The problem of a lack of space in the house and on the property was solved by means of an exposed-concrete structure, projecting out of the hillside. The new studio is connected to the basement, allowing it to be used autonomously and also as a flexible extension of the adjoining residence. A flight of steps provides access to the entrance area beneath the projecting building. The outdoor, reception and presentation spaces flow into each other. A free-standing flight of concrete steps leads to the studio on the upper floor, which is opened up towards the surrounding Jura hills by windows of various sizes. On the roof, the new and old structures form a floating terrace landscape.
Similar to a seesaw, the building rests on a linear arrangement of pressure points that are off-centre and set far back into the hillside. The necessary balance is provided by tension bars that transfer the forces to the lateral triangular "feet" via the rear wall facing the hill. This static system allows the ceiling over the entrance hall to be thermally separated from the exterior load-bearing structure, contrary to appearances. As an independent element, it is attached at just four points.
The independent nature of the concrete structure reflects its public use as a studio and provides an accentuating feature that stands out in this neighbourhood, which is dominated by small residential buildings. The smoothly formed in-situ concrete and precisely implemented edges bolster this effect. The deep window reveals make the solidity of the concrete structure noticeable, while their chamfering lets more light into the interior.