Private House - Ruttenen (Switzerland)

Contemporary rationalism

A private house in Switzerland offers a contemporary interpretation of the Modern Movement.
Year of completion

A «modern functionalist villa» is perhaps the most accurate description of the building we look at in this article, a private house in Switzerland. The property is located in Rüttenen, a municipality with a population of almost 1,500 in the Canton of Solothurn in the northwest of the country. The canton borders to the west with the Canton of Jura, to the south with that of Bern, to the east with the Canton of Aargau, while to the north it borders with Basel-Country and the river Aar and its tributaries. It is named after the Lombard princess Swanachild, the niece of Queen Teodolinda of Byzantium and third wife of Charles Martel.
Although it was in fact completed recently, the building has the appearance of a renovated rationalist construction like many works of architecture from the Modern Movement in Switzerland, which it should be remembered was the homeland of Le Corbusier. The plot stands on steep terrain, a characteristic that has been exploited to hide some elements such as the garages and to reduce the massing of the house itself. There are two above-ground floors. In plan view, the building’s perimeter traces out a 12 x 20 metre rectangle plus an annex housing a loggia and a covered veranda on the ground floor and a large terrace on the upper floor. Although the foothills of the Jura Massif can be seen in the distance, the landscape is essentially flat. The volumes, plastered façades and fenestration all display an elementary geometric composition. Inside, the rational nature of the building and its layout is emphasised by the choice of materials. The finishes on the stairs and in the hallways consist of large ceramic panels with irregular grey tones reminiscent of exposed concrete. This design choice has been adopted throughout the house, from the large open-plan kitchen/dining area to the living room with corner fireplace set into the wall, from the bathroom walls to the first-floor terrace, where the same materials are used. The Story series from Supergres was chosen for the floors and walls in the bathrooms, kitchen and terraces, while hewn-stone-effect strips from the Stockholm collection by Supergres were used for the terrace parapets and the fireplace wall. On the ground floor, a splendid 9 x 4 metre swimming pool set flush into the floor and a volume housing a sauna and whirlpool complete the amenities of this modern single-family house, which fully lives up to its description of a contemporary rationalist villa.

Supergres, Story collection
porcelain stoneware
45x90 cm, 75x75 cm
Story Grey, Story Dark
Technical characteristics
Water absorpion (ISO 10545-3): compliant
Chemical resistance (ISO 10545-13): compliant
Resistance to deep abrasion (ISO 10545-6): <=175
Stain resistance (ISO 10545-14): compliant
Frost resistance (ISO 10545-12): compliant
Modulus of rupture and breaking strength (ISO 10545-4): compliant
Slip resistance (DIN 51130): R9 - R11 (Grip)
Thermal shock resistance (ISO 10545-9): compliant
Crazing resistance (ISO 10545-11): compliant
Linear thermal expansion (ISO 10545-8): compliant
Certifications and awards
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