Program: Family housing
Location: Bern, Switserland
Client: Baugenossenschaft Aare Bern
Collaboration: FritschiBeis
Program: Housing
Gross floor area: 5900 m2


On the former site of the Wasser Energie company, the city of Bern has planned a new neighborhood of approximately 350 dwelling units that should eventually house 500 to 600 residents. After subsequent bids selecting the developers, urbanist and participating architects, our plot was one of the last to be issued. Working closely together with Bern based architecture studio Fritschibeis, we proposed a building in two clear volumes, containing 50 affordable family apartments in three types for a non-profit property developer. Two of the three types have been given extra quality in additional ceiling height, by occupying parts of two or even three floors. All types fit together like a jigsaw.

The spacious double height external galleries increase the liveliness of the inner garden and act as a transition space between public and private which allows for interaction and encounters between the residents. The gallery spaces are connected to the ground floor via a large cargo elevator.

Ultimately the building reflects both Swiss and Dutch perspectives on housing in an integrated whole: experimentation and fun in the dwelling plans is coupled with beautiful materialisation, controlled aesthetics and great detailing.


Project team: Rolf van der Leeuw, Stijn de Weerd, Beis Hurni, Ursina Ziörjen, Tszo Ho Chau, Gijs Baks, Patricia Yus

Photography: Beat Schweizer