House in Melzow

2016

address:
Meistereck
17291 Gramzow, Ortsteil Melzow

client: privat

staff: Willi Neuer

planning start: 2016

construction start: September 2016

finished: December 2017

NF: 82 m2

BRI: 428 m3



It should be a real house in Melzow in the Uckermark, located between the wide Oberuckersee and the highway, 60 km from Szczecin and 100 km from Berlin-Mitte.

Because the budget is limited, the owners initially consider a prefabricated house. Through mutual friends, however, they come into contact with Antje Freiesleben of Modersohn & Freiesleben Architekten, and the result of the discussions is to concentrate on the essentials and omissions in key places in order to achieve architectural added value for the same price.

The spatial programme of the prefabricated house is maintained, as appropriate and in compliance with the requirements. However, the implementation — straightforward and somewhat more unconventional than the conventions for prefabricated house construction suggest — already delivers a bit more extra space for every room in the house. In fact, the living room with the kitchen — which occupies half of the house — is in its centre, at the ridge, almost five metres high and the ceiling only declines to the usual 2.60 metres at the lowest point. That’s more than a small difference. It is an everyday celebration of space and an act of resistance against shrinking living conditions. The bedrooms receive their own sloping roof, almost like a sky, and above the bathrooms there is a work gallery with a wide view of the landscape, which was not planned in any spatial programme — a gift of geometry.

So much happening in a modest space and with limited resources has a price and a condition. The clients have to do without the usual lining of the interior walls, and the wooden panels of the wall and ceiling construction have remained visible. The usual smooth white of the smoothed plasterboard walls have to be eliminated. Yet even the ostensible cost-cutting measures prove to be useful; the modern wooden construction itself becomes an event and a place of residence. Appearance and reality of the house align.

However, in order to statically enable and architecturally articulate the high pillar-free living space, a central luxury is still necessary: two central exposed concrete pillars support the purlins that support the roof. These pillars form the centre of the house and connect the construction in a very real way with the four reinforced concrete foundation beams, which hold the wooden structure above the ground of the Uckermark.

The two pillars accentuate the dualism of mass construction and skeleton construction, with all modern ambiguity, and locate the house in the history of architecture. They refer to Kazuo Shinohara and Gottfried Semper and give the everyday use the necessary weight.

It is a small holiday home in the Uckermark and from the outside it is clad with red sheet metal. The walls are covered with red sheet metal and the roof is clad with red sheet metal. There is a fashion in the architecture of recent years that fuses the roof with the wall to make the house appear to be an autonomous object. That is not the point here. There is a roof overhang and visible rafters, the wall is not the roof and the house is a house—almost conventional and quite contemporary.

Sheet metal is a cheap material. It integrates the house into the rural context without being “endearing”. A feather-light walk over the balance beam.

House in Melzow

2016

address:
Meistereck
17291 Gramzow, Ortsteil Melzow

client: privat

staff: Willi Neuer

planning start: 2016

construction start: September 2016

finished: December 2017

NF: 82 m2

BRI: 428 m3