Ruegg House by Marcel Meili, Markus Peter Architects

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Photo: Heinrich Helfenstein

I’ve trawled through many architect pages in my time, and although this is going to sound off-beat and slightly weird, my main starting point has always been the back of the archive. Often you see the true essence of an architect through their older projects, those key concepts are more pronounced and they don’t usually have the budgets that they would have later in their career. Marcel Meili, Markus Peter Architects have a fantastic website that acts as an archive and gives you dates of each build and the exact location, making it both simple and functional. To be honest this sums up their whole design philosophy. As I was scrolling from bottom to top there were many exceptional builds, a few that I’ll point out include the Concrete House in Vienna and the Swiss School Of Engineering. I guess you could say that I was enticed by the superb models and drawings, I also admired their focus on small spaces as well, I think this has become a trend over the last year with concerns about space saving in all major cities around the world. You often here of new and innovative ways in which living spaces are being manipulated, which I think is valuable and is something that I’ve thought about extensively.

A home that did stick out, and one that I’m showcasing today, is the Ruegg House located in one of Zurich’s suburbs named Wallisellenstrasse. Even though the build was completed in 1995, I found it to have real substance and longevity. For example I was fond of the interesting angles on the roof, alongside the first floor which is almost glass on all four sides and is held up like a mezzanine. According to the brief, the family wanted to live in close proximity to the trees and the small lawn, feeling at one with nature and the surroundings. So they came up with the idea of using seven columns made of natural stone propped between the base and the ceiling of the ground floor, some of the components are part of the interior walls, such as a dividing piece of furniture that sections the living room from the rest of the space. Although they’ve used a heavy amount of concrete on the upper segment, the wood on the property has made it warm and balances out any coldness.

Obviously this is a big firm, but the drawings and models can give us a good indication of how they approached this project and the brief of the clients. In turn, us smaller folk, who’re interested in the little details, can rack our brains on how these spaces were created and why they did so, it’s quite intriguing. This is just one of many projects on their website, for the full list you definitely need to float over to their portfolio page, you won’t be dissatisfied.

meilipeter.ch

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Working model
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Design sketch before the introduction of the stone columns
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Construction stage with load-bearing stone columns (quartzite Wasa)
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Concrete shed with main support
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Photo: Christian Kerez
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View from north side of the build