Commissed by Remer Real Estate, a former subsidary of Portland Cement, the Buchen housing development project was awarded during the manufacturing of the Swissbau Pavilion, when Calatrava was investigating the structural and aesthetic qualities of concrete. The client stipulated that the primary building material should be concrete, and all exterior walls should be molded and prefabricated. This demanded a rationalization in the number of cast elements. The design proposal includes two types of residences: terraced houses and free-standing units. In the case of the detached houses, two rows are arranged facing each other across a central, underground car park, which runs the length of the site.
The car park is illuminated through glass bricks set into its cambered roof, which also forms the surface of an axial footpath running between the houses. Due to the density of the development, the main accommodation is placed on an upper, overhanging level in order to maximize the intermediate space at ground level. Each slender support tapers towards the base, further minimizing the area occupied by each house while permitting glimpses across the estate and enhancing the play of light. The cellar, laundry and technical services are on the basement level, while the kitchen and dining room on the next level protrude into a glazed atrium beneath the front overhang. A lounge forms a mezzanine on the upper level of this atrium, and the bedrooms are contained on the main deck.
After the client acquired the parcel of land bordering a wooded area to the north, Calatrava was asked to consider terraced houses oriented toward these woods. In changing economic conditions, it was thought that this concept would be easier to realize as a first stage. The 18-terraced units; completed in 1997, the first six units with three floors each are organized in a sweeping crescent. The entrance, dining room and kitchen with cellar to the rear, are reached via the glazed entrance front. Due to the fall in terrain, the cellar is recessed into the hill, and its roof forms a patio that is accessed from the lounge on the first floor. The overhanging bedrooms on the upper floor of each group create a common entrance arcade, which is delineated by the inclined supports to the front. Facing the west, these houses has four or five rooms with a total gross area of 110 square meters. The arcade facades are fully glazed, and light is thus drawn deep into the interiors.
1987 - 1996