Villa W
Frankfurt am Main
(Under Construction)

Villa W’s monastic appearance sets it apart from its immediate suburban neighbours. The building’s front façade seems impenetrable: the entranceway is recessed; the first floor, windowless; and the fenestration to the second floor, well set back. By contrast, the rear elevation is fully glazed.

Structurally, the building comprises a cast in-situ concrete frame with an infill wall composition of high insulation clay blocks. At 450 mm thick, these comfortably deliver the required U-values. Both plaster and render finishes are mineral based to ensure excellent wall breathability.

Internally, the four floors provide 640 sq metres of living space. Floor to ceiling heights, from the lower ground level to the second floor, measure 2.4m, 2.8m, 2.6m and 2.4m respectively. And in line with the villa's elemental aesthetic the concrete ceilings are left exposed.

At the front of the house, the symmetrical spatial and fenestration plan organises two first-floor bedrooms with en-suite wet rooms. Here, and throughout the scheme, deeply set windows provide a sense of depth and stature, which is also evident in the sizeable, sunken, trapezoidal-shaped courtyard abutting the property on its west elevation.

The main social spaces, comprising a L-shaped living and dining area on the ground floor (one of a number of 'L-shaped' configurations within the project) and a gallery/study on the first floor, are located to the rear, orientated towards the garden via the fully glazed south facing elevation. Here the building's substantial structural framework allows for the insertion of a dramatic double height space (6m x 6m x 3.4m) which articulates these rooms as one large, interconnected, light-filled interior. Coquina stone slab flooring, which is used throughout the villa, extends out onto the adjoining L-shaped terrace, so bringing the outdoors in and vice versa.

The inside-outside dynamic continues on the top floor. Full height glazing on three sides offers scenic views of the surrounding countryside, including the Taunus mountain range to the north, while diffused light from the skylight above the stairwell creates a sense of expectation as one ascends, which, on fine days, is heightened by diagonal rays of light via the south-west glazing.

This delicate use of light is equally on show at the front of the house, courtesy of the simple rectangular slot detailed in the overhang above the recessed entranceway together with the full-height sandblasted glass screen integrated within the front door design. These gently illuminate the hallway, creating a subdued light which delivers a welcoming ambience, while simultaneoulsy heightening the transition through to the voluminous, south-facing main living space with its abundance of natural light.

Villa W,  Frankfurt am Main
High insulation clay blocks, cast in-situ concrete, glass and sandstone
Completion: autumn 2016
Modelmaker: Innovation Technologies GmbH,  Frankfurt am Main