Frankfurt am Main, DE
This white monolithic house will reside in a suburb of Frankfurt. From the street it will appear impenetrable, its windowless façade and recessed entranceway delineating a clear demarcation between the public and private realms. Surrounding properties are a mixture of two and three storey pitch roof housing. All have been carefully referenced in determining the project’s scale, mass and proportions. A series of setbacks on floors one and two allude to the timeless ziggurat form. And as a way of a vertical counterpoint to the building’s strong horizontal accent, the traditional chimney is articulated as an elegant rectilinear column.
Villa W is about generating presence, its robust orthogonality and monochrome aesthetic grounding the building in its location. At just under 0.5m thick the external walls will be Romanesque in stature. This is architecture communicating through its constructional ontology the importance of place and dwelling.
The build will utilise a restrained palette of materials: for the externals walls, one course of high insulation clay blocks; for the internal walls, cast in-situ concrete - this being used also for the floors and ceilings, the villa’s roof, and for a monumental inverted U frame that will tectonically organise the south elevation. The house will be finished in a mineral based render so preserving the breathability of the walls. As there is no specific insulation layer used in the build, the external walls will be specified at 450mm thick in order to achieve the desired U-values.
Villa W will provide 640 sq metres of living space over four levels. Floor to ceiling heights are generous: lower ground level - 2.4m; ground level - 2.8m; first floor - 2.6m; and second floor - 2.4m. The main social spaces - a living and dining area on the ground floor and a gallery/study on the first floor - are orientated towards the fully glazed south facing elevation. The building’s tectonic rigour will allow for the insertion of a dramatic double height space (3.4m x 6m x 6m), thus articulating these interiors as one large interconnected two tier cuboid. The composition will impress with its volumetric clarity and uninterrupted views of the garden.
The ground floor and first floor glazing to the south elevation will comprise three triple pane bespoke units: 3.5m x 2.8m, 3m x 2.8m and 3.5m x 2.8m; and for the second floor, two units measuring 3.5 x 2.2 and 3.8 x 2.4. An additional glass wall to the ground floor side (west) elevation will complete this striking fenestration design.
The villa’s second floor L shaped composition, with full height glazing on three sides, will deliver impressive views of the Tanus mountain range. A skylight situated above the staircase will provide diffused north light. This soft, even illumination will create a sense of expectation as one ascends, which, on fine days, will be heightened by diagonal rays of sunlight via the pavilion’s south west glazing. The use of light as a building element - defining space and animating form - is central to this project, meticulously informing every glazed insertion. On entering the villa, the north facing skylight above the main entrance will gently illuminate the hallway, enabling the abundance of light from the south facing elevation to draw one through and into the hearth of the home.
Status: Under Construction
Location: Frankfurt am Main, DE
Additional Credits: All images courtesy of Ian Shaw Architekten.
Photography: Felix Krumbholz
Modelmaker: Innovation Technologies GmbH, Frankfurt am Main
Location Frankfurt am Main, Germany
Architects Ian Shaw Architekten BDA RIBA
Type of project Four storey new build
Total cost 1.75 M Euros
Contract duration 9 months
Gross internal floor area 640m²
Form of contract Standard German contract
Quantity surveyor Ian Shaw Architekten
Planning supervisor Ian Shaw Architekten
Structural Engineer RSP Frankfurt