A garden pavilion that maximizes the views from inside to the surroundings

Architects: Oliv Brunner Volk Architekten
Location: Zürich, Switzerland
Year: 2013
Area: 1.399 ft²/ 130 m²
Photo courtesy: Eliane Rutishauser
Description:

“The pavilion is situated in the garden of a villa from the 1920s, surrounded by old trees and dense foliage. The two-storey structure leaves a minimal footprint, with its larger upper floor sitting on the smaller ground floor, cantilevering on all sides. In plan it takes the shape of an irregular pentagon, fitting into the corner of the site, minimizing the appearance of the pavilion and maximizing the views from inside.

The ground floor is an open-plan kitchen and dining area which can be opened on all sides to the surrounding garden with folding sliding glass doors.

The only wall of the structure acts like a hollow tree trunk and contains a toilet, storage and ancillary space. Along this wall a flight of stairs leads to the upper floor which is used as an open-plan living space, open to all sides with floor to ceiling glazing, maximizing the views into the surrounding trees and garden. The pavilion becomes a treehouse.

The asymmetrical position of the wall allows for varying depths within the large space. Starting from the stair landing and moving counter-clockwise the space first widens and then gradually becomes narrower and more intimate, moving from a working and living area to the sleeping and bathing area.

Contrasting the narrow vertical frames of the folding sliding glass doors on the ground floor, the large sliding “Sky-Frame” windows on the upper floor maximize the views into the surrounding treetops and the garden. The sliding windows open up all five corners of the upper floor, turning the corners into outdoor loggias, perched among the foliage.

The pavilion adapts to and interacts with its surroundings, the weather and the seasons, allowing it to be opened in varying degrees and connecting the different levels of the surrounding garden, from the grass to the treetops.

The structure of the pavilion is built entirely of exposed in-situ concrete. The upper floor is supported by the trunk wall and five thin steel columns. The folded plate concrete roof is held only by the trunk wall, asymmetrically cantilevered on all sides, sheltering the upper floor and freeing the space from any further structural elements.

The pavilion provides a very open, informal and unusual living space in tune and in dialogue with its surroundings, the weather and the seasons.”