The barn house above the right bank of Lake Zurich is a contemporary witness of an originally small-scale mixed agricultural culture. It was built in 1924 partly on the foundations of a previous building and is now located in the agricultural zone. In its position parallel to the slope at the edge to a wooded ravine it marks a special place in the transition between the relatively steep topography against the lake and the flatter terrain against the forest. The location in a formerly densely planted orchard culture, which almost completely dominated the slopes towards Lake Zurich, can still be seen today in the free-standing quince and apple trees. The existing living part was solidly bricked, the ceilings were mostly made of wood and partly concreted in the kitchen and bathrooms. In the barn part, the ground floor walls were bricked up in exposed bricks, above which all fixtures were built in wood construction. The entire roof truss is constructed as a continuous purlin construction, the canopies in the barn part are wide cantilevered and define aprons protected on both sides.


The reconstruction tried to clarify and reinterpret the inner and outer appearance. The building comprises a living area with attached stable and barn. Over the years, various extensions and smaller outbuildings were built on the property, which obscured the original situation. In the middle of the last century, the southern side of the crested wood was demolished in order to restore the original cubature of the building. The scattered outbuildings in the eastern part of the property, such as garage, henhouse and shed, will also be removed and instead a new double garage will be built in the alignment of the main building, on the south side of which an outside shower and a well will be located. Above the existing silo on the south side a concrete platform was built, which serves as a seat and is connected to that of the house via a steel passageway. The environment was developed in close cooperation with the landscape architect and pursued the goal of incorporating the agricultural character and accommodating residential use with new outdoor spaces.


The reconstruction plays with the given structural elements of the farmhouse and brings a completely new character and an independent complexity into the formerly narrow spatial structure with the double development. Through the hierarchisation of rooms with very different proportions, the aim was to achieve a diverse rhythm of movement. The large kitchen and dining area on the ground floor and the wine cellar below in the basement are both generously proportioned and exceed the scale of the formerly small house. They have two levels and thus differentiated areas with different room heights. The rooms on the upper floors are rather compact, but by means of bilateral connections to neighbouring rooms they were given second paths, which line up the rooms in the sense of an enfilade and repeatedly allow axial references and transverse views. 


In the bedrooms built-in bed niches reflect the traditional rural alcoves. In the rooms in the attic the quality of the attic is played out, which parries the scarce floor space with an overheight. Ox-eye windows inserted into the roof expose the formerly dark rooms well and open the connection to the landscape. The fireplace room, which is located in the roof, has a large window to the tennis court and is connected by a narrow staircase to a bridge connecting the living area with the new summer room.


Barn house at the lake of Zurich


Johannes Käferstein, Urs Meister, Francesco Castruonovo, Dinah Brütsch, Aurora de Col