House B is a project by Zurich based architecture practice E2A. In the uniform suburbs along the Zurich Goldcoast, the individual locations lose their distinct individuality. Everyday generic architecture directly dictates the context of the pleasant restricted development of a formerly agrarian zone. In the densely arranged world of single family homes, the empty space of simple open grassland is a visibly good thing. As a general rule, gardens here are the landscaped rest areas between the individual more or less pleasant houses. They are all that remains when the house is built – nothing more.
Our project is doing something different. It is building a location with clear boundaries. An enclosure of walls and hedges: territorial and hard from the outside, a soft, private garden from the inside. The house assimilates this relationship between interior and exterior. Two new inner exterior spaces arise – an entry courtyard and a courtyard garden. In between, there’s the part of the house with the main entrance and a garden apartment. Across is the upper floor with a terrace and view of the adjacent empty space and the lake and the mountains in the distance.
Around the central kitchen are the dining room and a two-storey living room with a studio quality and light from the northeast. All rooms lead directly to the terrace. A staircase provides access back to the courtyard garden. Above the residential floor is the studio with gallery to the living room. The east-facing master bedroom together with the restroom, the dressing room and an office area, functions as an individual unit, an autonomous suite, contained within the studio. Seen from the outside, straight walls in rough-hewn exposed concrete and large, free-spanning, fully-glazed openings dominate the appearance. Only a window with massive concrete frame on the north side reveals the actual scale and true size of the house. The house remains outwardly silent and concentrated in the otherwise garrulous environment.