Casa Ast is a large private house standing on the Alt-Stralau peninsula, Berlin, designed and built by the architectural practice of Clarke & Kuhn to a brief that specified it must be a retirement home that was geared to change and modification as time went by.
The whole design is barrier-free and the plans have flexibility built in to allow for adjustments to living conditions and the widest needs with minimum work and impact.
Low construction and operating costs, together with use of recyclable, renewable materials, are hallmarks of this ecological design philosophy. Underfloor heating is provided by a high-efficiency gas boiler, while hot water for the whole house, including a groundfloor swimming pool, comes from solar panels on the roof.
By way of inside materials the architects went for a few quality items and stuck to them throughout: grey basaltina stone on floors and walls,
real-wood parquet, customised built-in wooden units: all designed to last and gain charm with time. Windows in eloxat-coated aluminium for weather-proofing give a touch of class to the indoor design.
For the bathroom ceramics the choice fell on Duravit. This fell in with the project requirement of accessibility and avoided any feeling of sterile impersonality. The choice of Vero - a washbasin which is a mere 165 mm tall - whether wall- or console-mounted - had wheelchair-users in mind, whilst keeping top design quality. In its simplicity of shape the Starck 3 series bidet is a perfect match for Vero, while the toilet bowls come from the Architec series, wall-mounted version for wheelchair-users, projection 700 mm.
Using the same materials in bathroom and living areas gives a visual impression of barrier-free fluidity. Specially-made built-in wooden furniture strikes a deluxe note. The main bathroom draws heavily on moisture-resistant hardwood lining the floor, walls and the inset Starck series bathtub with its whirl system and neck support option.
In teaming up over Casa Ast, the architects and Duravit have shown that one can cut costs, accommodate the needs of the most vulnerable users bracket, and still follow the latest trends in design and comfort.
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