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Saturday, November 08, 2008

Dupli Casa, near Ludwigsburg, Germany

WAN House of Year competition brings out strongest design talents
Last year, Marbach made its architectural ascent in status when the city’s Museum of Modern Literature, designed by David Chipperfield to reconnect Germany’s literature once separated by the East/West divide, won the Sterling Prize – a most coveted architecture award. This year, perched on 6900 m2 of land atop a hill facing the museum, a private house responds with originality and thoughtful design, elevating the bar in the region.

Submitted for WAN’s House of the Year 2008, Dupli Casa displays sophisticated shape manipulation to transform a simplistic design into a complex yet comprehensible super-home.

“The geometry of the building is based on the footprint of the house that previously was located on the site,” say Dupli Casa’s designers J. Mayer H. Architects. “Originally built in 1984 and with many extensions and modifications since then, the new building echoes the ‘family archaeology’ by duplication and rotation. Lifted up, it creates a semi-public space on ground level between two layers of discretion."

The design therefore reflects a family vernacular – the different levels of a family presenting as twisted versions of the next, performing different functions but communicating as a whole.

"The skin of the villa performs a sophisticated connection between inside and outside and offers spectacular views onto the old town of Marbach and the German national literature archive on the other side of the Neckar valley," the architects explain. In such close proximity to Chipperfield’s masterpiece Dupli Casa’s design is able to feature the Museum of Modern Literature as an asset in its own design, responding to the simple lines and blanched colouring.

And just as RIBA, who deliver the annual Sterling Prize, commended Chipperfield for his “control and discrimination in the choice of materials” the same could be saluted in Dupli Casa’s design. Concrete walls and wooden floors are used creating a connection between the modern and the old, the natural and the man-made and the inside and outside, similarly achieved in Chipperfield's columned design which integrates the indoors and out. While the three storey house holds a standing of its own, as a piece defining responsive architecture, its stature grows to reflect this.

Niki May Young
News Editor
architecture NOW

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