CourtyardRow house
Atelier 5 | Burgdorf, Switzerland |
Image of Lorraine
View of the courtyard

ArchitectAtelier 5
Addressalong Bern-Zurich R x R
Building TypeCourtyard
Row house
Number of Dwellingsc. 50
Date Built
Dwelling Types1, 2, & 3 BR flats and maisonettes
No. Floors3
Section Typeflats and maisonettes, gallery access on top floor
Exterior Finish
concrete, concrete block, wood details, fiberglass blinds
Construction Typeconcrete, masonry
Ancillary Servicesparking

The idea of a residential “village” is a reoccurring theme in the housing of Atelier 5, a notion beginning in their very early work, Flamatt and Halen of the 1960’s, for example, but continuing with later work such as the Thalmatt projects of the 1970’s. Lorraine belongs to the village genre because of the overall form of the building complex: a group of buildings enclosing private walks and a central “piazza”. The courtyard form here is derived as a response to a difficult open site that has streets on the north and south, and railroad tracks on the west. All dwellings present rather blank walls to the outside of the village form. The windows are small and an upper gallery runs almost continuously around the complex. Inside the courtyard, however, there is an abundance of glass, balconies, and fenced gardens so that all dwellings are looking and opening to this green, quiet, enclosed space and the typical apartment is organized so that the living and dining rooms open to the courtyard. The overall building form of several articulated elements was partly conceived as protection from the noise of passing trains, and the placement of bathrooms and storage rooms along the outside wall on the west and north sides helps minimize train noise. Parking is provided beneath parts of the building in a split-level arrangement below the courtyard level. Parking is also provided around the perimeter of the building on three sides. Maisonette apartments open to fenced gardens at the court level and have access from the garden side. Stairs lead to an outside gallery at the third floor that gives access to flats on the top floor. The main building is made of concrete block—an economical version of Halen perhaps—and windows, balconies, trim and fence details are of wood. Roll down fiberglass blinds provide sun protection.

Atelier 5, Artemis Verlag, Zurich, 1986, pp. 187-193

Adler, Florian, Hans Girsberger & Olinde Riege, Architekturfürher Schweiz, Artemis, Zurich, 1978, p. 76

Werk. Sept/Oct, 1978, p. 38.

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