Haus am weinberg / House Beside a Vineyard | The Plan
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Haus am weinberg / House Beside a Vineyard

UNStudio

Haus am weinberg / House Beside a Vineyard
By Lucy Bullivant -

The Haus am Weinberg in Stuttgart by UNStudio is the latest in a species of private houses by the practice including the Möbius House in Het Gooi in the Netherlands (1998) and VilLA NM in upstate New York (2007). In its bespoke experimentalism, it also relates to their pavilion architecture for the Chicago Millenium Park and the Venice Biennale of 2008. With a constant focus on experimentation throughout the 50 buildings completed to date, UNStudio’s work effortlessly combines a number of gestures that create flexible spaces. “Architecture is so stiff, so difficult to adjust”, says co-founder Ben van Berkel, but with productive, double-curved surfaces, he feels it can appear “far more reductive, and let complexity in”. That contradiction in terms relates architecture to nature through the exploration of the discipline’s deeper science. On the outskirts of Stuttgart, the context of the latest villa is both attractively rural and suburban, with views of the stepped terraces of a hillside vineyard on one side and views of the city on the other. “The location was perfect”, says van Berkel. He picked up a lot of ideas about landscape that can be seen in the structure of the house as you move through it, “like looking up the hill as you ascend the staircase”. The villa is certainly a bit surreal, plays with the owners’ ambitions for their domestic space, is part of the landscape and a form of sculpture. Its geometries deliberately include some “painful qualities”, justified because, like all UNStudio’s buildings, it is a virtually column-free space and contains many of van Berkel’s other creative preoccupations. A central twisting structural element supports the main staircase, organising the main spatial flows through the two storey house and structuring views out to the surrounding landscape. “The building’s load bearing concrete structure is reduced to the minimum”, says van Berkel, “underlining the idea of a built sculpture”. It was challenging for them. The roof...

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