- SF Spezial
Design, building application and design management:
- Meili & Peter Architekten AG
- Marcel Meili | Lukas Eschmann
- Dieter Schwarz & Walter Fincato
Project and construction management
- Claudio Gianesi & Ralph Stäubli
- Hirt Metallbau AG
- Rene Dürr
With HIRT kinetics®, indoor rooms turn into outdoor ones – at the press of a button and with uncompromising ease.
Mondrian meets HIRT moving architecture®
“Set on an undeveloped hillside high above Lake Zurich” – that is how a neutral description of this modern villa might start. But such sober words cannot do justice to the sight that meets the eye: A phantastic panorama of the Zurich region with Lake Zurich and the surrounding, tranquil vineyards. It is precisely this spectacular view that the architects Marcel Meili and Markus Peter showcase as they brilliantly unite style, taste, elegance, and excellence into a single building.
The structure itself is based on the now legendary Case Study No. 8 by Charles and Ray Eames. The original was built in Los Angeles in 1949 and is considered a pioneering work of architecture due to taking up the visions of Mies van der Rohe and thus following in the traditions of Bauhaus. Though these traditions are still relevant today, the villa in Zurich translates the original ideas into the 21st century and adapts them for local and climatic conditions. The building is defined by large panorama windows. The ground floor’s glass façade plays with the contrast between the wood panelling that is visible through it and the concrete elements. Despite the cubic design being built right into the mountain side, everything seems light and airy: A sophistication that reveals the architects’ expertise – and yet, there’s more.
Smooth transitions thanks to retractable panorama windows
The huge panorama windows hold a special secret: They are HIRT kinetics® retractable window fronts. At the press of a button, they vanish silently into the ground and open up the living area to the garden and pool, thereby setting the scene for majestic Lake Zurich. The dynamic architecture creates a special sense of freedom and infinity. Here, indoor and outdoor spaces come together perfectly to form a unique oasis of wellbeing. When the panorama windows are lowered in good weather, the lake seems to draw nearer and to almost merge into the house. You can feel the air against your skin, the familiar scents of Lake Zurich reach your nose, and you hear the calming sound of rippling waves. In short: You get to enjoy your home with all your senses.
An almost magical place
Even though glass fronts are often associated with a cool atmosphere, that isn’t the case at all in this almost magical place. The building effortlessly bridges the divide between practicality and wellbeing. The types of wood used – Caucasian root wood, Japanese ash, and French cherry – ensure a sense of warmth and homeliness. The expertly chosen materials create not only a space that is at once homely and imposing – but also an impressive façade. By the way: If you should find yourself reminded of a painting by Piet Mondrian, then that is indeed the desired effect.
The exquisite wood panels also allow for a discrete integration of the kinetic architectural components. The mainspring of HIRT moving architecture® is hidden away in the utility room in the building’s substructure along with the nearly silent motor which lowers and raises the panorama windows. These windows themselves are part of the HIRT kinetics® SF Spezial series, which all but defies the laws of nature: Using this technology, the team at HIRT have previously realised retractable window fronts spanning 20 meters and weighing 7,500 kilograms. A unique impression is achieved via the non-profiled border of HIRT kinetics® retractable fronts: The floor-to-ceiling panorama window is frameless and thus fits seamlessly into the room.
”The combination of finest materials and the uncompromising way in which the opening-up of the room on three side has been implemented here are what make this such an outstanding project. I am proud that we were able to help make this unique vision a reality.Stephan Hirt