The Holliger apartment building draws its inspiration from modern Alpine architecture. The combination of an open timber construction with façade cladding in corrugated fibre cement places the building firmly in the location’s industrial tradition and is a reference to the Alpine architectural tradition of a specifically Swiss form of modernism.

The character of the apartments is defined by an open, contemporary view of the family. An open-plan living area forms the centre of family life, along with the ‘veranda’. The open living area has enough space for a large dining table, sofas, and for play and work corners. The ‘veranda’ extends along the entire length of the façade and forms an extension of the living area during the warmer months, with plenty of space for tables, plants, toys and all the kids’ muddy shoes.

As a wooden structure with a ventilated façade of corrugated fibre cement, the new apartment building is exemplary in relation to sustainability, grey energy, local production and value creation. Its simple structure and the way in which the building’s technical systems are confined to a single shaft space per apartment make the building cost-effective and facilitate maintenance. The volume below ground level is kept to a minimum. The compact architectural body deliberately concentrates the window areas along the ‘veranda’, while the design of the end façades benefits from the lively material quality of the two-tone corrugated fibre cement panels.

The evocative wooden construction of the balconies is deliberately formulated as an agreeable, cheeky contrast to the robust industrial quality of the façades. The underlying ideas on the building’s cultural context draw on a form of Swiss modernism represented by leading figures such as Hans Coray and Hans Leuzinger, whose work succeeded in creating a synthesis between landscape and modernism, between industrial and artisanal architectural culture.

Location: Bern, Switzerland

Programme: 32 apartments, 16 studios

Client: Baugenossenschaft Aare Bern

Net Surface: 5’645 m2

Competition: 2nd prize

Project Status: Not built