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Railway passengers have long been familiar with the expressive structure of red brick along the Gotthard line. The owners carry out the interior work in the distinctive shell on an individual basis. The exterior should be infused by the same ideas of power and refinement as the architecture itself. House and surroundings should combine into a strong presence.


The high groundwater table in gravel of the Lorze river has required for the subterranean garage to be built nearer the surface. It is covered by merely 40cm of a substrate. Its special mixture of expanded clay and perlite allows the horizontal filtering of the roof water, its release into the groundwater and the supply of water to the weatherproof areas on the façades. Parking spaces and sports equipment are arranged pragmatically on the rough meadow.


A triangular grid oriented to the north precisely defines the locations of the Amelanchier around the house. These are planted as saplings and the head branches are split up to a height of 2.20m. The slight twist of the grid facing the building builds tensions, interferences. Growth thickens towards the house. At the periphery, the the trees are thinned out, creating open inviting spaces which, together with the surroundings, result in an impression of expansiveness.


The shadbushes originated in the South of Europe and travelled along the railway lines as neophytes. Budding and autumn colouring produces red to bronze colours, which dip the house into a seasonal colourscape. Multi-stemmed trembling poplars are interspersed among the tree growth. The trembling of the leaves caused by passing trains and wind becomes a source of the location’s unique ambience.

This strategy has been developed for:

Residential development Schleife

Location: Zug, CH

Year: 2008 - 2012

Architecture: Valerio Olgiati, Flims

Engineering: Conzett Bronzini Gartmann Ingenieure, Chur

Lansdscape architecture: Maurus Schifferli, Bern

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