Jonas David Wehrle // Old Friend – Cooperative Living in a Black Forest Valley



The history of the place is formative for the design on the property on Herrenweg in Gutach im Breisgau. A now somewhat enchanted meadow between the Elz River, a golf course, and the two Wilhelminian-style houses Villa Alexander and Villa Oreta was once laid out as an English garden. Here, people used to play tennis or stroll around in the shade of the redwoods and cypresses. With the decline of the business and the subsequent sale of many of their properties, this place fell into oblivion and was left to its own devices. For the construction of a residential cooperative, the character of the site is to be preserved. The three new structures blend respectfully into the centuries-old tree population. The ensemble, consisting of a large residential building, a multifunctional coach house and a greenhouse, subdivides the site into three zones. The materiality of the area is determined by the region, as mainly clay and wood are used for the main building elements. The single-story coach house, which is located on a small paved square, is the prelude to the development. This area forms an interaction surface between members of the cooperative and people who do not live in the settlement. Small events such as markets or concerts can be held here. A small farm store, a bicycle workshop and a multifunctional seminar room enliven the situation and are located opposite the community room in the head of the residential building. It extends over two floors and, in addition to a large kitchen, has several workstations that can be used for home office work or as co-working spaces. In addition to a studio and a communal laundromat, the apartment building includes 21 flexible living units for singles, couples, families, seniors and people with disabilities. Large, bright staircases connect them and are more than purely functional access elements. From here, one can also reach the winter gardens, which can also be accessed from the apartments. They become communally used elements, but they can also be converted into places of retreat. The double roofing of the residential building consists of sliding glass elements on the one hand and folding lamellas on the other, which serve as visual and solar protection. The system allows the interior spaces to merge with the exterior space when fully open. On the other hand, when all the elements are closed, introverted retreats are created.


Examiner: Prof. Anne- Julchen Bernhardt
Co-Examiner: Jun. Prof. Dr. Ing. Jan Polívka
Supervisor: Milica Lopicic

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