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Award-winning idea: construction by the lake

Even during the Neolithic Age there were human dwellings on the banks of Lake Biel in Switzerland.


Even during the Neolithic Age there were human dwellings on the banks of Lake Biel in Switzerland. Back then there were pile dwellings, which allowed the people to live in harmony with the lake. The lake shore still determines the type of architecture today – also, for instance, when it came to designing the house by Lake Biel, a family home by Markus Schietsch Architekten from Zurich. To be more precise, an award-winning family home, as it received the 2016 “Houses of the year” accolade awarded by the publishing house, Callwey Verlag.



“The house by Lake Biel lies on the lakeshore area. The design should therefore be closely connected to the very distinctive, surrounding countryside. The house thus evolves from a wooden veranda, which juts out like the deck of a ship into the sea of grass in the surrounding meadow,” says Markus Schietsch explaining the thoughts behind his design. Water and wood have always had the closest of connections in the history of mankind. Without wood, they would not have been able to open up the water – be it with ships or pile dwellings. The choice of materials for the house by Lake Biel is therefore critical for allowing the building and landscape to merge with one another.




It appears obvious that, with such proximity to nature, any artificiality in the colours is also ruled out. On the contrary, the white glazed finish, which protects the spruce wood, ensures that it will retain its radiant fresh quality for a long time to come. “The project was very interesting and challenging for us,” says Münir Toprak from ADLER, who looked after architects and builders in terms of coating. “Mr. Schietsch wanted the best possible exterior treatment in glazing white and yet painted in such a way as to guarantee the light fastness,” he explains. The aim was also to break up the white with grey or beige so that the building could best fit in with its surroundings. “For the facade we therefore mixed a special shade made of pigmented Lignovit Lasur and Lignovit Platin,” outlines Toprak. The natural wood texture and colour are still easily identifiable thanks to this solution, with the addition of platinum creating a special radiance and reflection – a bit like the lake itself on a bright summer's morning.



Indoors too, the wood remained visible everywhere. “The panelled ceilings inside are also treated with water-based ADLER-Lasur; in just the same way, the windows and reveals are sprayed with ADLER products,” explains the architect and adds: “Apart from the windows, the client, who also supervised the construction, painted all the wood components in the carpenter's shop himself together with friends and acquaintances. They were very impressed by the processing of the glaze finishes.” The ceiling painted with  Lignovit Interior in the light colour, Margerite, creates an inviting, open sense of space. The windows were varnished with ADLER Acryl-Spritzlack white in the RAL colour 9010. On the outside, they were matched with the special colour of the facade.


Incidentally: the house does not only have the position on the banks of Lake Biel in common with the pile dwellings dating back thousands of years: in order to be protected from the seasonal floods, it is elevated 80 centimetres above the lakeshore meadow. And – like at the origins of human settlement activity – the entire house is made of timber. So it is a good place to live in the award-winning “House of the year” by the lake.

Claudia M. Berghofer
Tel.: +43 5242 6922-231
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Stefanie Tobon Nova
Tel.: +43 5242 6922-232
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