Family Home, Chur (Switzerland) - Sophisticated Living

Despite hints of a backlash against the ‘grey box’, the popularity of fair-faced concrete homes remains steady throughout Europe. This is stunningly apparent in Philipp Wieting’s complex and unique design for a light-flooded yet private family residence in the Swiss town of Chur. 


Situated on a steep hillside plot, encircled by a busy road, the specified north-south orientation of the street frontage was achieved while also realising a secluded inner courtyard. The latter was achieved through the sculptural off-centred layering of the three floors and the subtle use of a concrete wall on one side of the house and an integrated auxiliary building on the other to create protective arms.

The entire house is constructed from in-situ concrete, and makes restrained use of contrasting surface finishes to provide depth and texture.

While rough horizontal plank formwork has left its imprint on the top floor and basement facades, the smoother finish of the ground floor façade was created through the use of a large upright formwork frame. 


The positioning of discreet windows contributes to the overall sculptural effect, with the small, grey-coloured frame, top floor windows set as inconspicuously flush as possible.

The almost 300 m2 space of floor space has allowed for a generous sized gallery that connects the ground floor with the top floor, while also offering a picturesque view of the landscaped garden and surrounding mountains.  Dappled light fills the dining area by way of an elevated window.

The narrow, windowless corridor and stairwell on the ground floor also offers an extraordinary room experience, heightened by its contrast with the bright and open adjacent kitchen and living areas.

Hints of the ‘grey box’? Perhaps, but with such idiosyncratic features as to create a distinctive residence that showcases not only the talents of the architect, but also the vast range of properties offered residential construction by concrete.

Assistance of opusC : Concrete Architecture and Design acknowledged

Patrick Gmür and Jakob Steib - 

Images: Werknetzarchitektur

Article reproduced from CCANZ Concrete magazine