Bälen apartment house, Oberglatt

Mehrfamilienhaus Bälen, Oberglatt, Fassade, Fischer Architekten AG, Zürich

Oberglatt is an airport community with a rural character, well connected in transport terms and embedded in the largely natural landscape of the Glatttal. These advantages provided good reason to examine the potential of an existing property dating from the 1970s and – as a consequence of this research – to replace it with an apartment house containing owner-occupied apartments for middle-class buyers.

With the not inconsiderable emissions from the airport behind, the building is oriented, almost emblematically, in both plan and section towards the side that faces away from the noise and enjoys plenty of sunlight, in a south-west direction. In plan the building is splayed out towards the sun, giving each of the apartments a generous loggia with a view of the historic village core in the background and the snow-covered mountains on the horizon.

Both internally and externally the loggias are the principal characteristic of the complex. The special importance of these private outdoor spaces is emphasised by the use of appropriate materials. On its representative front the building, which is otherwise restrained and covered with a textile plaster, is generously open and is enhanced by the solid oak cladding of the loggias.

Due to the way in which the building splays, it is fully registered only from this side. The volume interlocks with the surrounding green space and in terms of scale corresponds discretely with the nearby surroundings. In contrast to the historical buildings in the village the new apartment house does not stand directly on the road. In a reference to its historical character this road is understood as a corridor space lined by unpaved areas and tall planting.

Auf der Bälen 3, 8154 Oberglatt, Switzerland
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REI Immobilien AG
Task Design of a multi-family house with underground garage
Job type Feasibility study / direct commission
Deliverables Project
Time period 2017–2019
Challenge Protection from airport noise