Thalwil House is embedded in a steeply sloping, wooded plot with a magnificent view of Lake Zurich. These site-specific conditions determined the genesis of the project.


Due to the constricting site conditions, the basic shape of the house is inevitably a polygon formed by the result of the regulatory building line and the forest distance line. In accordance with the building and zoning requirements, a staggering height is developed with a basement, two full floors, and a partially set-back attic level.


The inventive use of the bay window rule and the arrangement of the floors as split levels make maximum use of the plot and give the house surprising spatial generosity and diversity. In order to allow the bay windows to appear as facade fragments, as required by building law, they are folded out in the east and west from a clearly recognizable bend line. This allows well-tailored rooms to be formed on the constricted south side, as well as a spacious roof terrace.


In relation to the steep topography, the split levels allow for optimal embedding into the terrain with terraced outdoor spaces on all levels. A generous staircase with short flights of stairs creates a natural spatial context. The concrete slabs rest on a load-bearing brick inner leaf. The exterior insulation is protected by in situ concrete shells. At the same time, the concrete envelope ensures a simple and efficient transition from the below-ground to the above-ground façade structure.


To give the house a mineral texture and strengthen its plastic presence, the surface of the concrete facade is bush-hammered. The chosen color for the concrete is a light, warm beige-gray. The generous windows are constructed of oak frames and appear to be bordered by a smooth stone cornice. In fact, the cornices are untreated off-form concrete.


The garden design makes reference to the local environment with its views of the landscape and the directly adjacent forest. The terraced open space is divided into four garden zones: the forest garden, the garden grove, the perennial garden, and the herb garden. A curved circular path connects the garden zones. In a staged choreography, one is guided through the different garden spaces and their moods, which constantly change during the course of the seasons and times of the day.

Architects: Harry Gugger Studio
Area : 390 m²
Year : 2021
Photographs :Daniela Burkart
Manufacturers : Duravit, BRUSTOR, Nemo Lighting, Schenker blinds, V-Zug, Van der Sanden
Landscape Architecture : Vogt Landschaftsarchitekten
Structural Engineers : Schnetzer Puskas
Electric Engineers : R&B Engineering
Building Physics Adviser : Bakus
Design Team : Harry Gugger, Victor Wichrowski, Gonzalo Ampudia, Jasmine Graham
Cost Planning : Eitel & Partner
Building Technology : Häusler AG
City : Thalwil
Country : Switzerland