Row houseTerrace
Thalmatt 2
Atelier 5 | Bern, Switzerland | 1985
Image of Thalmatt 2
View from the south

ProjectThalmatt 2
ArchitectAtelier 5
AddressMettlenwaldstrasse, in Herrenschwanden (Bern)
Building TypeRow house
Number of Dwellings37
Date Built1985
Dwelling Typesrowhouses, several different types
No. Floors2-3
Section Typerow houses
Exterior Finish
concrete, wood, glass, metal
Construction Typeconcrete frame/walls
Ancillary Servicesparking, communal room, mechanical/laundry, tennis

This is one of three similar terraced housing projects designed by Atelier 5 on south–facing sites along the Aare River near Bern. The first of these, Siedlung Halen, built in 1960 and containing 81 dwellings, established site and dwellings prototypes that were used in the others: Thallmatt 1, 1972, 28 dwellings and, Thalmatt 2, finished in 1985, with 37 dwellings built on an adjacent site. All three employed variations of narrow two and three-story terraced row houses that were organized like villages around common open spaces. All three share a common architectural vocabulary of in situ concrete, sod roofs and roof terraces, and the use of similar building elements and architectural accessories. Halen is a large repetitive project utilizing several different house types. Thalmatt 1, by comparison, consists of only 18 dwellings arranged in a very idiosyncratic, repetitive group, where each house is a unique design. Thalmatt 2 built 10 years later, is similar to Thalmatt 1 and has only 37 houses and while there is still great dwelling variety, the houses are not all different. Thalmatt 2 seems almost to have been designed taking into consideration the critique of Thalmatt 1 that there was an economic price to be paid to have each house a unique design.

Thalmatt 2 has many standardized details such as sun shades, metal pergolas, window details, skylights, and privacy panels and the buildings are much more repetitive. The 36 houses are formed from a three-dimensional grid of 5 x 5 x 2.7 meter cubic units that are grouped to form different sized dwellings. Within this framework each dwellings is designed separately. Thus the repetitive qualities of Halen are combined with the custom home qualities of Thalmtt. The complex sets on platform with parking beneath and is organized as several distinct clusters around a public “piazza” that forms the entrance to the dwellings and includes some office space, a gallery, community club and service rooms in addition to a tennis court and some surface parking. There is an access road along the east side and all dwellings have a private entrance. The individual dwellings are derived from earlier A-5 precedents: long, narrow maisonettes with living spaces in the entry level and bedrooms either above or below and each dwelling has a private outdoor terrace. The use of a set of building accessories including arched metal arbors, privacy panels, blinds, planters, and balustrades reinforces the overall modular quality.

Achleitner, Friedrich, Atelier 5, Birkhauser, Basel, 2000, pp. 90-93.

Atelier 5, Anmann Verlag, Zurich, 1986, pp. 249-53.

Werk, Bauen + Wohnen, Nov, 1985, pp. 4-9.

L’architettura, Feb. 1986, pp. 114-21.

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