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Practical Flexibility: Erlenmatt Ost by Abraha Achermann

Practical Flexibility: Erlenmatt Ost by Abraha Achermann

Erlenmatt Ost by Abraha Achermann Ph. Rasmus Norlander

Two unconventional buildings providing space for living and working have been constructed on the Erlenmatt development area in Basel. Designed by Abraha Achermann, they are located opposite the historic grain silo belonging to the Deutsche Bahn (German Railway) and make use of a non-conventional typology.

Ph. Rasmus Norlander

Based on a predefined masterplan, a system of walls creates a simple typology which allows for a host of different options. The residential units are either two-storey, three-storey or, four-storey flats which are accessed via two-storey pergolas.

The spaces in the residential units are stacked and linked by spiral staircases, tackling a privacy issue and avoiding the typical lighting issues for pergola accessed properties. The result is the creation of unconventional, vertical, and open living space with rooms offering individual options for use. There are also spaces for social life, such as an extra high room with a fireplace or communal roof terraces, which contrast and enhance the simple and cost-effective construction of the units.

The project uses a minimum of optional component dimensions. The wiring is surface-mounted and nearly all building components are unbundled. Inside, a rear-ventilated wooden façade becomes a piece of furniture. The project tries to be an independent and radical contribution to sustainability.

Ph. Rasmus Norlander

DATE: 2015 (study commission – 1st prize) – 2019 (realization) / LOCATION: Basel, Switzerland / AREA: m2 (built) / PROGRAM: 45 flats, studios, café and bicycle shop / STATUS: built / DESIGN: Abraha Achermann / PHOTOS: Rasmus Norlander, Abraha Achermann 

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