BLUMENHÄUSER – Public Housing in Bern, Switzerland

European Architectural competition entry

Architect: Lina Stergiou
Collaborating architects: Roula Bakopannou, Petros Fokaidis, Loukas Triantis
Consultants: Karolos Hanikian, Alexandros Bofilias, landscape architects

Location: Schönbergpark, Bern
Site: 6.136 sqm
Program: Housing of 2.000 sqm in new and existing buildings with apartments of 130-170 sqm, common use spaces and landscape design

The site of the new housing is in Schönbergpark, adjacent to the center of Bern. Schönbergpark is a former farm and includes a number of preserved buildings as well as a garden, Herrschaftsgarten. Its immediate environment forms today a green island within the urban sprawl.

Urban context: Blumenhäuser responds both to its urban environment and Schönbergpark with its existing buildings. It continues the front of the street, strenghtens the green character of the park and, by following the trace of Herrschaftsgarten, it axially responds to the preserved buildings.

Public space into the private: In Schönbergpark the housing meets the public park. Blumenhäuser suggests the entering of the public realm into the private: two paths penetrate the building from the side road, Schönbergrain, and lead to Herrschaftsgarten. One of them continues to the terrace where a public sitting area with view to the center of the city is provided. Also a pedestrian street northeast of the building leads to the garden via a pilotis and reaches the entrance of the preserved building, Bauernhaus. In Bauernhaus common use areas, as gym and children’s palyroom are proposed in the groundfloor, and housing in the first floor and the attic.

Flower-zones: Blumenhäuser (Flowerhouses) suggest the intertwinement of natural and building materials. Zones with groundling flowers form the common-use garden, Herrschaftsgarten, and climb on scaffolds onto the building. The flower-zones become the lighting device of the building since vertical windows are at their back side. Since the groundling flowers are deciduous ones, natural light is allowed to enter during the winter and ideal shading is offered during the summer.  In addition, zones with interior use materials, as ceramic tiles and wood, clad the exterior and continue to Herrschaftsgarten to form platforms of activities for exercising, play and sitting purposes.

Awards:
2009: Mention with Diploma of the Union of Architects of Russia at the
3rd Minsk International Biennale of young architects, Belarus
Exhibited in:
2009: 3rd Minsk International Biennale of young architects, Belarus
2006: Patras, Cultural Capital of Europe – 5th Greek National architectural exhibition “Architecture as a cultural artefact”. Selection after competition
Published in:
2009: Catalogue of the 3rd Minsk International Biennale of young architects awards
2006: Catalogue of  “Architecture as a cultural artefact” 5th Greek National architectural exhibition – Patras, Cultural Capital of Europe