Slab, corridorSlab, double-loaded, skip stopTerrace
Atelier 5 | Brugg, Switzerland | 1971
Image of Rainpark
View from the south, slab at the top of the hill, terraced dwellings below

ArchitectAtelier 5
AddressBielstrasse/Rainstrasse, Brugg (Biel)
Building TypeSlab, double-loaded, skip stop
Number of Dwellings39
Date Built1971
Dwelling Types4 BR terrace houses, 2 & 3 BR maisonettes, 5 BR flats & 4 penthouse
No. Floors2-7
Section Typeflats & skip-stop maisonettes
Exterior Finish
concrete and wood,
Construction Typein situ concrete
Ancillary Servicesparking

Like other Atelier 5 terrace projects, Rainpark is built on a south-facing slope overlooking the Aare River valley. Built in two stages between 1970 and 1971, Rainpark consists of a 5-story slab on a nearly level site at the top of the hill that backs up to a wooded area along an upper road and, in the second phase, eleven two and three-story terraced houses built on the steeper portion of the site in two parallel rows below the slab. Both buildings are derivative of early A-5 projects. The slab makes references to apartment buildings in Bern and Flamatt and the terraced houses model many of the qualities of Halen of 1960. The slab contains four lower floors of maisonettes. The bottom maisonettes are like the dwellings at Flamatt and have access from private stairs that lead up from the ground floor. Access for the upper maisonettes is from an interior corridor with bedrooms at the entry level and kitchen and dining above and a huge penthouse apartment on top. In addition there is a zone of large flats in the western part of the slab, a zone clearly articulated on the exterior. Typically, living areas face south and there are ample balconies on this side of the building. The terrace houses on the steeper part of the site are variations of Halen houses, one with entrance through a forecourt on the north side and the other with entry from an interior walkway. Both terrace to a private garden on the south. A parking court at the foot of the hill also makes entrance to the common garage and stairs and drive leading to the upper levels. The terrace dwellings have much the appearance of Halen: in situ, concrete walls fastidious attention to detail and a general overgrown ambiance. The combination of slab and terrace house increases the density of the project while maintaining the essential qualities of the terrace type. The closed form of the Halen precedent offers more private outdoor space, but there are spectacular views from the upper levels of the slab.

The 5-story slab building at the top of the hill was an innovation that helped resolve the formal issues of defining the perimeter in the typical stepped terrace housing organization and provids a better mix of apartment types and sizes. Two other very similar projects designed about this time are worth noting, the Portsdown competition of 1966, by Brawn, Gold, and Jones , and Werner Seligmann’s Elm Street housing in Ithaca, built in 1971 for the New York Urban Development Corporation. In both examples, a long slab along the top of the site controls a zone of several tiers of lower, one or two-story courtyard dwellings serviced by several walkways and small public courtyards. In Elm Street, a zone of townhouses along the bottom of the site form a built-up edge and entrances to the site. But common to all of these projects including several other Atelier 5 projects built after 1960, as well as other examples of the terraced type common in Switzerland are themes suggested by Le Corbusier in the Sainte-Baume and Roq et Rob proposals designed in 1949.

Atelier 5, Artemis Verlag, Zurich, 1986, pp. 133-40.

Mackay, David, Multiple Family Housing, Architectural Book Publishing Co., N.Y., 1977, pp. 58-60.

Werk. 4/1974, pp. 475-40.

Werk. 7/1971, pp. 464-5.

A+U, 12/1971, pp. 107-10.

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