Frick House, Richterswil

Haus Frick, Richterswil | Fischer Architekten AG

Like the church of St. Katharina or the school buildings in Büel, Bogen and Vogtsrain, this house, too, illustrates the intensive examination of the ideas of Brutalism that is evident in the creative work of Eugen O. Fischer. This tendency, which is typical of the time, is translated into the typology of the dwelling house built in Richterswil for the Frick family.

The carefully formulated and strictly structured exposed concrete building combines a doctor’s surgery with a dwelling house. The two functions are cleverly woven together so that the surgery has an appropriately public quality, while the privacy of the living spaces is preserved. The different functions of the building are placed together as individual volumes and the precise composition of projections and recesses produces a single whole. The construction method used for this house is clearly legible thanks to the appropriate use of concrete. The well-considered structure of the facades gives the building a memorably imagery.

The house can be entered from both the north and the south. Coming from the north, one is led directly to the entrance to the doctor’s surgery. Like in Le Corbusier’s villa Le Lac a projecting semi-circular volume articulates the long facade. While in the original model the rounded volume houses the heating system, in the Frick House this aesthetically emphasised functional element contains the staircase. As well as making a compositional gesture the striking volume also marks the point on the ground floor at which the public function is separated from the private sphere. While all the rooms of the surgery are combined on a single (ground floor) level, the adjoining dwelling house to the south extends through three storeys.

The Frick House illustrates how Eugen O. Fischer attempted to liberate himself from the legacy of the houses built by his father Wilhelm Fischer, mostly in the regional “Landi” style, and strove to design a contemporary architecture that is certainly comparable to the highly regarded works of his professional colleagues of the time.

Glärnischstrasse 2, 8805 Richterswil, Switzerland
show on map
Task New dwelling house with doctor’s surgery
Job type Feasibility study / direct commission
Deliverables Project, tender, implementation project, construction management
Time period 1973
Challenge Two functions, sculptural examination of exposed concrete construction of the early 1970s