Diethelm & Mumprecht Architektur GmbH:Focus measures
Text: Cornelia Brelowski
W hat makes Diethelm & Mumprecht architecture stand out is the whole vision: from urban planning through to aesthetic detail.
The development from building task to architecture happens in the knowledge of a building leaving far more traces than those inside its own four walls. To figure out what an impact a project will have on its environment, be it urban or rural, depends on both location and programme. This is why Diethelm & Mumprecht architects tackle projects of the most varying kinds, from large-scale developments, such as a project for the Zollinger foundation in Forch with 36 housing units for senior citizens, to a competition entry for the Swiss embassy in Ethiopia, which honours its natural habitat with a water-roof surface, through to a tiny ‘Cabin in the Woods’.
The architects started out apart from each other in Berlin (Hans Kollhoff arch.) and Zurich (Tilla Theus arch.). The cooperation began in 2002 with a competition win for Baden’s new inner city theatre square. Due to the overnight success, the architects swiftly had to turn their living room into a planning room with a landscape of monitors and printers – an inhouse startup. “We were lucky to have well-meaning clients, who inspired and actively supported our first steps,” recalls architect and partner Alessia Diethelm.
With most of their projects, the architects have made it their mission to implement a more holistic vision of ‘architecture’ by also designing the interior, from single elements such as lamps or a bar through to complete living environments. A fresh and comfortable interior is the result which has often led to further assignments. As Pascal Mumprecht explains: “In the end, the builder’s satisfaction and the architectural elegance are the factors on which we measure our work and the joy it entails for us.”
Holistic project in Baden
Against the backdrop of both traditional and contemporary building concepts, Diethelm & Mumprecht help with the unfolding a project’s character, just like in the case of their ‘Baden Theaterplatz’ project. With their house at the Baden theatre square, the whole architectural view is factored in, from the overall urban structure and beautiful setting to the building itself, through to its elegant interior. Thus, the measurements become the focus point for both task and creation.
The aforementioned competition entry for the Addis Abeba Swiss embassy in Ethiopia deals with the specific climatic conditions for the building, set in one of the world’s highest capitals. With the garden being reflected by the water of the gigantic roof pool, the stunning beauty of the surrounding garden is multiplied.
The ‘Cabin in the Woods’ presents an assignment of the most personal kind: Diethelm & Mumprecht architects act as their own builder here. The idea is to tackle the challenge of “creating the minimum of what an architectural task can entail”. A roof over your head, walls that can be (completely) opened or shut according to weather conditions, no electricity or running water – a shelter in the woods, like every child’s dream, far away from civilisation.
Supportive client base
Just like in its beginnings the office’s work is based on taking part in competitions as they form the background against which the architectural discourse is being pursued most intensively. Also, winning a competition reaps relationships with the public body and, in the case of Diethelm & Mumprecht architects, foundations. In parallel to this classic form of acquisition, private builders are equally welcome at the office. DM takes pride in having returning clients, one of them springing from a conversion assignment at the sophisticated Zürichberg location. The collaboration went so smoothly that the idea of a common project development firm, the VMMD Home AG, was born.
Construction will start soon for a double family home at Herrliberg. Another ‘homemade’ assignment for the architects as part of the VMMD Home AG, the double unit in a stunning location with expansive lake views is featured in this magazine exclusively for the first time. Psst – a secret to reveal: those who are currently looking to invest in a beautifully located home by the lake, featuring breathtaking views, will be pleased to hear that come summer, these two lovely houses will be on the market. Take a sneak peek!
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