Discover Germany | Special Theme | Swiss Architecture 2019
Photo: © Alexander Gempeler
Storytelling designs Rich in modernist architectural tradition, Althaus Architekten today lies in the hands of the third generation. The office aims towards a conscientious approach, with an emphasis on the interplay between space, structure and light. TEXT: CORNELIA BRELOWSKI
Althaus projects are marked by an impartial search for specific answers to each and every task. Their designs take the uniqueness of a site, with all its aspects, as well as the individual demands of the builder and programme, into account. Partner and co-owner Nicolaj Bechtel states: “The personal aspect of the process and a design rich with association results in an architecture growing beyond the boundaries of settings and programmes, thus opening up new spaces of interpretation for its new owners.” The Bern-based office was originally founded by Willi Althaus in 1935. His grandson Ueli Krauss took over leadership 110 | Issue 72 | March 2019
in 2007, following on from his uncle Jürg Althaus. Longstanding co-worker Michael Zwygart became partner in 2013 and, as of this year, Nicolaj Bechtel has also joined the management team. The compact team of ten allows the office to take on challenging conversions of historically significant and listed buildings. Furthermore, unique new family and holiday homes, as well as projects for the public and clerical sectors, form recurring tasks. Althaus Architekten clients appreciate a powerful yet sensitive design, adapting well to both the environment and their personal needs, while being executed conscientiously to the last detail.
Scharnachtal family home This former holiday home, designed by office founder Willi Althaus in 1946, shows an impressive, simplistic and modernist levity, transforming the traditional theme of the mountainside chalet. It has now been refurbished to meet modern standards for year-round habitation, assisted by a north-facing expansion. A soapstone stove and kitchen form a sculptural ‘heart’ for the structure, newly interpreting the idea of a brick-built centre. Modern, large-format windows provide an expanded view of the valley and the high mountains. Ambassador’s residence, Bern Considered as worth preserving, the original architecture, orientated on the style of Baroque Bern country estates (‘campagnes’), played an integral part in the transformation. The well-organised layout was only slightly adjusted
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