This Swiss family home in a forest near Basel is conceived as a pavilion in visual dialogue with an historic villa on its parkland site.
On a section of garden carved from an historic estate, this new house for a young family coexists with the original 1900s villa. Rather than have competing forms, we saw the need for a natural hierarchy and deference to the historic house. Our response was to create a 3,000-square-foot, pavilion-like home amid the forest and gardens.
The small site led to a three-story design. A highly transparent first floor is clad in local limestone, creating natural synergy and flow out into the garden, while the middle floor is clad in wood, honoring the tree trunks in the forest. To make the third story “disappear” to reduce its apparent height, we clad the mezzanine rooftop in mirrored glass, so that it reflects and fades into its surroundings. This Skyroom contains a wellness space, housing a sauna, steam room, and relaxation area where the family can be close to the treetops.
By respecting each site condition—the garden, the tree canopy, and the sky—the house responds intimately to its context. The home also provides maximum comfort and energy savings; it passes the sustainable low-energy code MINERGIE by utilizing high-performance insulation and windows, a geothermal heat source, and solar panels.
The Edelmann Residence has a distinct identity relative to the existing villa. Formed in close relationship with the forest, it has a quiet yet confident presence on the historic estate.