THE BEAUTIFUL PLACE
In a mountain village at a higher altitude, there is an old farmhouse on the outskirts of the village. From a steep slope, which requires almost athletic performance to reach it, it overlooks the village below and opens up a view of the imposing mountains beyond.
One can imagine the great effort it must have cost to erect this building in such difficult terrain. The house itself seems to make this effort tangible today by chiselling the irregular, white ground floor walls against the slope. The slightly indented gable also tells of the large amounts of snow that the house has carried over the decades.
On the gable side facing the slope and the wonderful view of the mountains, the house supports an elongated balcony protected by an equally large roof overhang, which is just deep enough for a pair of deck chairs. From this balcony the guest can enjoy the evening sun and the view after a hard day of skiing in spring. The larch wood of the back wall, the floor and the parapet has turned almost black from the intense sunlight and gives the guest a feeling of security thanks to its enclosing shape and radiated warmth. A special, resinous scent is still given off by the wood. The grain of the wood, which has emerged as strong and rough over the years, draws attention to the complexity and beauty of everyday things.
Even if many other things may have a strong influence on the mood of every visitor, this place suggests happiness, to which the architecture has made its decisive contribution.
DESIGN OF THE SITUATION
If you go back in your mind to the places where there was such a dense atmosphere, then as an architect you naturally wonder where this impression comes from. If you then put the picture together from memory or leave out some properties of the place in a mental experiment, you become aware of the important role light situation, materials and colors play as well as the geometry of the room and even the details of the furniture. In the same way as a situation can be reconstructed from memory, we try to design our buildings from the scene, so to speak, not from the schematic organization of a floor plan. The aim and starting point is the atmosphere and charisma of the building. Similar to a scene in a film, we first try to grasp what mood we want to evoke. Perhaps we just imagine a few people acting in front of their clothes and the type of conversation, how the light is made around them and what materials surround them. The same applies to the effect of the exterior of the building. The effect is created in perspective, from the viewer's point of view, not in the floor plan or any other schematic projection. The plan drawings are later a means to an end and are therefore thought and developed from perspective. The starting point is therefore the perception by the viewer.
AESTHETICS OF THE REAL AND ASSOCIATION
In my opinion, the atmosphere we are looking for is not an abstract reference to theoretical topics, but an aesthetic of the real that does not require prior knowledge to be understood. The things themselves create the relationship to the viewer similar to the thing poems by Rainer Maria Rilke. Just as the reader of the poem “Das Karussell” may associate the detailed description of the object with its youth and its transience without having to describe emotions, a building can speak of transience, simplicity, generosity and freedom.
This effect is similarly described in the book by Alain deButton "The Architecture of Happiness" in the chapter "The virtue of buildings". In another article, the author also summarizes this aspect as follows: “When we call a chair or a house beautiful, we are basically saying that we like the way of life that it suggests: Would it magically turn it into a Transformed into a person, we would find them likeable. '' We often describe objects or buildings with adjectives, which actually describe character traits of people.
ELEMENTS OF THE ATMOSPHERE
Naturalness If, as in the building mentioned above, we are surrounded by natural materials such as untreated wood, it seems to me that this creates a feeling of the real, the real and the unadulterated in us. A natural way of life removed from the appearance and artificiality of virtual media.
We may even associate life in the seclusion of nature. Just as some Japanese poems from the Mamoyama period describe the benefits of living in a simple hut instead of a city palace, natural materials can evoke associations with the simplicity of life in nature. Rikyu's reinterpretation of the tea ceremony was probably based on similar thoughts, in that he no longer had the tea house showcase the wealth of the owner, but designed it as a retreat in the form of a mountain hut.
The inclusion of the elements in the design, for example by staging water, a view of the mountains, a fireplace or just the course of the sun, perhaps even creates a connection with something original in the viewer. This creates a feeling of the timeless, immortal that lets your thoughts wander, and a mood of serene sublimity. Even if the viewer's attention is specifically directed to these omnipresent but fragile elements, their charm can only really unfold and their constantly renewed, never the same appearance give the situation something contemplative.
Perhaps here, as with a character in a novel that might interest us, a certain amount of imperfection should not be missing. What is more boring and unrealistic than a hero who knows no defeat?
Already with architectural work, but especially with urban development projects, all of our living spaces are shaped in the long term. Whether, for example, an intense, urban city life with the quality of an Italian city can emerge, with piazzas that invite you to linger with their cafés and flower stalls, vegetable markets and even the evening vineria, is decided in the spatial planning. Whether the individual buildings and also the public space contribute to the quality of life is up to the planners and project developers.
It is very important to us to fulfill this social task of our profession and to make a contribution to the quality of life in modern urban and rural areas.
Architecture always means creating spaces in which people meet, places that determine relationships between residents and passers-by to a high degree. As described in Jane Jacobs 'The Death and Life of Great American Cities', the shape of the public space has a strong influence on how far the residents identify with their neighborhood or location and thus contribute to social security and the integration of new residents. The design of the interface between the interior and the street or the quality of stay on the paths largely determines whether neighbors get to know each other and talk to each other or whether everyone drives anonymously into their garage, cut off from the outside world and only sees the neighbors through the windshield.
The subdivision of the outdoor spaces into areas of different privacy enables a much more communicative and practical coexistence in the neighborhood, for example by creating inner courtyards that the children in the block can use to play without their parents having to supervise them.
It is certainly an essential basic need and an important function of every building to guarantee the privacy of the users. Sociological studies also clearly show that residents' willingness to be in a positive neighborhood and communication depends on being able to withdraw from their homes. The aim of the planning must therefore also be to guarantee this possibility of retreat, otherwise conflicts would inevitably arise among the neighbors and the residents' freedom of development would be significantly restricted.
A special feature of our projects is the targeted formation of the non-private rooms instead of understanding them as pure residual areas. This applies to open spaces as well as to interiors. In our experience, the result is a great gain in quality of life for all users. A lasting and positive community can only arise through the combination of privacy and contact opportunities. Constraints, structural conflict points or complete individualization are not conducive to the formation of a natural neighborhood.
CONCEPT AND DESIGN
The focus of our office is on developing concepts and designing projects. The other work areas serve to implement these concepts, taking into account the aesthetic and social goals mentioned at the beginning.
Many offices concentrate exclusively on the design phase and leave the constructive solution of their ideas to outside offices. In our view, such projects cannot, in principle, achieve the same quality as a construction by the designing architect. Only here can the know-how be developed from project to project in order to really implement the creative ideas. Also, only they have the necessary will to achieve the difficult design goals and the understanding of the ideas in order to master all the technical challenges associated with them. The conclusiveness, consistency and technical care of the structural planning are ultimately decisive for the quality of the building.
Especially with our way of working, the planning down to the last detail is from the 50th to the 1 to 1, from the room layout to the wood varnish used. Only in this way will all parts underline the message of the whole in the end.
TENDER AND AWARD
With all these services, however, it should not be forgotten that it is not we who ultimately erect the building, but companies, whose quality plays a decisive role in the success
of a project. An important task is therefore the selection of the appropriate companies and a correspondingly precise description of the services to be provided. For this reason, we are also strong advocates of the "old school", which provides for a clear sequence of work phases and no supposedly advantageous bringing forward individual phases. Only an exact and completed work planning is the right basis for an exact tender, which in turn scares off unsuitable companies, enables a high level of cost accuracy and guarantees the necessary level of quality.
Lastly, property monitoring is an important prerequisite for the success of a building. Particularly in the case of cultural and sophisticated buildings, perfect coordination of the specialist planners as well as careful coordination and management of the large number of executing companies is required.
In addition, in our opinion it is necessary that the planning architect accompanies the project from start to finish and that the tender and construction management are not left to a local site manager alone, as is often the case. The know-how that is necessary for planning and executing such projects can only be accumulated in an office that frequently plans sophisticated buildings. Such a task is too complex for the normal local site manager alone and he will usually only be assigned standard projects. The mastering of design-demanding projects, on the other hand, requires a complete agreement of planning and implementation.
THE SUCCESSFUL PROJECT
The success of such projects requires a high degree of trust and commitment on the part of the client and the architect, but at the end of the long and arduous journey, one of those beautiful places will have emerged that will make you forget all the efforts and make this contribution to the quality of life of its users perform.