The Perfect Ensemble: A Free Pass for Architecture
Birkenhof might qualify as one of the nicer residential spaces in Zürich. A big tree, large yard, and an overdone fountain framed by a set of buildings which delicately mediate between the idyllic park and the surrounding context.
Urbanistically, nothing needs to change—but it is this rare condition that presents an opportunity. Whereas individual buildings are typically coerced into contributing to urban uniformity; here, the urban realm is already held together to such an extent that individual buildings can hardly serve to strengthen it any further. This leaves the individual pieces of the Birkenhof ensemble free to develop their own specific characters and qualities. Each of the buildings is recast as a specific feature of a household. The Frontdoor, being the central figure, acts as the main entrance to the site. The Porch faces the Guttered Roof, while the Wall and the Sneaky Backdoor complete the ensemble.