A question of balance

The renowned architecture office KCAP Architects & Planners run by Dutch architect and ETH professor Kees Christiaanse is drawing up the urban development guidelines for the Aeschbachquartier.

Professor Christiaanse, one of the aspects of your study contract-winning project that impressed the jury was its openness to its surroundings. Why did you opt for such an open development?
If a district hopes to be an integral part of a city, then it has to be penetrable. Noise protection is ensured through the positioning and design of the buildings; however, it is the openness of the buildings to the surrounding structures already in place that is the key to the success of a new district. Three different architecture offices designed the buildings within the Aeschbachquartier.

Nevertheless, the district has one distinct architectural style. How was this achieved?
We drafted the urban development guidelines for the Aeschbachquartier
from which the rules for materials, colourings and building foundations, for example, were derived. It’s all about finding the right balance between architectural individuality and urban cohesion.

The twelve townhouses in the Aeschbachquartier are reminiscent of those in your home country, the Netherlands. What do you like about this type of building?
Townhouses have a long tradition in urban environments in the Netherlands and England. The relationship between price and living quality in townhouses is impressive. Residents of townhouses do not have any neighbours upstairs or downstairs and have direct access to the ground floor and a great deal of flexibility.

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