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Birkenweg “Living in the Woods” by Curzio Ardinghi Architecture with Andres Carosio

Project Name: Birkenweg “ living in the woods”
Architecture Firm: Curzio Ardinghi Architecture with Andres Carosio
Contact e-mail:
Firm Location: Zurich, Switzerland

Completion Year: 2020
Gross Built Area: 1200 m2
Project location: Zollikon, ZH, Switzerland

Lead Architects: Curzio Ardinghi
Lead Architects e-mail:
Design Team: Alessandro Scognamiglio, Daniel Noguera

Photo credits: Bruno Helbling

The property is located right on the edge of the forest. The main challenge was to integrate the building into the existing natural surroundings creating an ideal connection to the woods. Therefore this project was inspired by nature. Despite its location close to the city, it is particularly influenced by the nearby forest.

The tranquillity, the green of the trees, and the chirping of the birds are part of everyday life here. From the desire to convey a feeling of living in contact with the natural environment, the idea of the project is to create apartments and terraces that seem to float above the tree canopy. The apartments are all south-facing, each of them with its own surrounding terrace, which provides plenty of privacy. The real invention is the façade, which is a unique innovation in terms of technology and design.

The exterior skin is made of thin metal slats that wrap around the whole building giving a textile look. It is in a natural, light bronze tone, which blends in perfectly with the green surroundings. The metal slats have no reflection effect, but they playfully take up the green tones of the surroundings. Rather than denying the forest, we established a dialogue between the building and the context.

The garden floor is made of beige, sandblasted, exposed concrete. Because of the property location, the garden became a central element of the project. The north area, which is next to the street, is planted with suitable plants and trees that act as a filter to the residential complex. Thanks to the choice of native plants, a gentle transition between the residential garden and the forest are created on the south side.