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Haus Jones

Bad Camberg-Oberselters, Germany
1 of 11
jones house_facade south open

Haus Jones designed by reinhardt_jung and completed in 2008 is an extension to an existing simple private house originally built in the 1960s in a small town in Germany. It is conceived as a communicating living space for an extended family spanning four generations, the client, her husband and children as well as the client's mother and grandmother. The architects aimed at creating a dynamic space where architecture is intended to work as an open process. The extension's main characteristic is a section which is folded multiple times. The fold creates surfaces which play off against each other and thus generate a series of novel interior and exterior spaces. This strategy preserves the existing building typology of a 1960s building but helps to transform the formerly banal structure into a unique building.

The fold is a spatial as well as a static element of the design concept. The multi-layered arrangement creates unobtrusive volumes, niches and pockets. The line becomes a surface, a volume. Folding is not a geometric exercise. It is an expression of ubiquitousness in a Deleuzeian sense, meshing past, present and future. This ubiquitousness is the conceptual basis for the sequence of rooms, for present and future functions, for materials and an instigation to conversations and discussions among the house's inhabitants. The fold also creates new space typologies: spaces which rotate around a central service kernel; spaces which originate in the fold or are inscribed in it; negative spaces which are defined by less than six surface areas.

The fold is positioned around a kernel in which the architects located the bathroom, the shower and, as an extension, the service unit for the kitchen. Here the architects have - rather unexpectedly - created volumes: the shower has a ceiling height of 4.20 metres. An underground niche is used as a server room, another niche hides a game console and electronic plug-ins and a cushioned bay-seat allows for unobstructed views to the nearby mountains with a maximum of ten hours of sunlight. All these rooms and spaces make for a complex intertwining of newly created and reintroduced existing layers.

The architects also use materials to create conversations, and accentuate common memories and references to the house's inhabitants and its location. A wallpaper is echoing the interior decoration of the former living room. Railway sleepers used in the external stairwells are a reference to the railyway line which once passed through the neigbourhood. The handrails in the interior staircase were forged by the grandfather. The chalkboard in the kitchen is used by adults as a notebook and by the children to scribble on "a wall" without repercussions. Additionally traces of the old wallpaper were kept in the staircase, as well as traces of a wooden casing whose imprint can still be seen on the wall. The separation between the old and new part of the house is highlighted by a glass sill.

Visual references which are everywhere to be found are a key aspect of the design concept.They play a decisive role in enabling smooth transitions from one space to the next. This works because the existence of more than two spatial entities (often internal and external ones) at every point, eventually lead to the disappearance of spatial separations. An examples for this idea is the home office which opens up towards an air well framed by gabions containing 60 tons of basalt which the client placed himself. Additionally the home office receives natural light from a skylight which connects it to the living room. In the living room elements of the facade can be removed entirely to open it towards the garden. The living room is also visually linked to the dining room. And in the shower the glance of the visitor is drawn via two skylights towards the sky.

Haus Jones creates new modes of living within the existing structure of an old building. It strengthens the communal life in an extended family while leaving at the same time room for personal spaces and hideouts.

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alexanderjung, September 19th, 2011
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