The Seewurfel ("cubes on the lake") project centres around the concept of the "square": the arrangement of the eight buildings, all different in shape and size, creates a series of external environments which may be used both by residents and by the rest of the city?s population.
Seewurfel thus becomes a project on an urban scale, a neighbourhood, a true portion of the city linked, reconnected and integrated with it.The project?s quality lies in its ability to synthesize a number of key elements: the contemporary vocabulary of the residential units, each one?s unique character, and the way in which the new architecture reflects the profile of the historic buildings surrounding it.
The cladding determines each building?s particular unique character and the way it interacts with all the others.
Cement fibre slabs, glass panels and plywood work together to create an infinite variety of compositional solutions in each building. The chromatic components of the panels reflect the hues of the garden, changing with the seasons. The architecture interacts with the exterior: the greenery is reflected in the glass panels and the colours of nature penetrate the buildings. The cladding on the surfaces reflect the different intensities of light with reflections that blend with those of the lake.
Seewurfel applies the highest Swiss energy conservation standards and has geothermal heating and cooling systems. The first three floors in each building contain offices, while the top two floors contain luxury apartments in which wood, glass and cement panels reappear in the interiors, establishing continuity with the exterior.
The project won the 2005 RIBA Award.
The judges considered the cladding worthy of note: "(...)Particularly impressive is the new type of cladding panel which was developed for the project. in addition to the richness afforded by the different coloured timbers, the glass surface of the cladding achieves a depth through random reflections of adjacent foliage, structures and passers-by."
Photos by Ferit Kuyas