Gonzalez Haase to live in
Houses that architects build for themselves often have a programmatic character, especially when they are premiering in the medium. It is therefore perhaps a little surprising that architectural office Gonzalez Haase were able to realize ideas in their first residential home which they might not have managed to achieve in quite the same way elsewhere.
The multi-family home was constructed in Berlin-Mitte on behalf of “vGGG” – the name is derived from the surnames of the three developers. One G stands for Pierre Jorge Gonzalez, who also built for himself here. To begin with, it should be mentioned that the architects were stuck in a fairly tight corset of legal restrictions from urban heritage requirements, as the line of buildings on the street is listed. The design responds to this with a delicately balanced configuration of windows that appears at first glance to be axisymmetric while abandoning the principle in places without thus undermining the calm overall image.
However, the building’s special qualities become clear when stepping inside. As is the case in many shop interiors the architectural office has designed, the rooms appear Spartan at first: Walls and ceilings are made of exposed concrete, with its raw nature even especially emphasized in some areas. A rectangular opening in the ceiling for a future fireplace looks as though it has just been uncovered from the formwork. The luxurious aspect lies in other things: for example in the 4 meters height of the ceilings. Or the beautiful wooden windows. The architects had the latter fitted directly under the ceiling without lintels. In doing so, they have maximized the amount of light entering the rooms, despite the dense urban surroundings – a principle developers in Germany in the late Wilhelmine era were already using only for Modernist architects to often dismissed it in favor of low rooms and windows in landscape formats. In order to allow daylight to penetrate deep into the rooms, the architects also had glass panels installed in the top 50 centimeters of the dividing walls.
The “vGGG” house is to be just the beginning. “In future, we would like to expand our work as architects in the field of housing construction,” Judith Haase said. And it would be hardly surprising if the houses by the Gonzalez Haase studio were soon in as high a demand as their retail designs. Until then, Pierre Jorge Gonzalez will be able to enjoy the result of his labor himself, day after day.