Äschen nursing home
Amden, Switzerland
ahaa - Argus Amden Image

When you branch off to the nursing home coming from Amden and then head towards Äschen, you quickly leave the village behind you. Long before the last houses mark the edge of the village, you feel like you’ve escaped civilisation. The mountain and panorama determine your perception. The new home clearly stands out from the functional buildings in the area due to its scale and use. It therefore isn’t looking to follow the style of the building context but is guided by the landscape.

ahaa - Argus Amden Situation

The building sits on the slope like a jagged rock. The building’s shape originates from the topography of the terrain it is growing out of and the panorama it opens up to. Thanks to its fragmentation, the building structure looks smaller than it actually is.


ahaa - Argus Amden Model

The heart of the home are the two nursing wards, which the majority of the residents cannot leave without assistance and above all where they spend their last remaining days. Consequently, the two wards are situated on the privileged top floors where the view over the forest of the mountain panorama is guaranteed from all sides and there is also a visual reference to the slope. Two established room types with Z and T floor plan guarantee every resident a direct view of the panorama from their bed despite the building wings facing different directions.

The communal areas manage without any corridors and allow for a variety of views in all directions on all sides.

ahaa - Argus Amden Plan Level 4
ahaa - Argus Amden Plan Level 3
ahaa - Argus Amden Plan Level 2
ahaa - Argus Amden Plan Level 1
ahaa - Argus Amden Image
ahaa - Amden Argus Elevation
ahaa - Argus Amden Elevation
ahaa - Argus Amden Elevation
ahaa - Argus Amden Elevation

2nd prize, selective competition 2017
Client: Gemeinde Amden
Images: Motiv

Hic et Nunc

Gestadeck primary school, campus extension
Liestal, Switzerland
ahaa - Hic et Nunc Liestal Section
ahaa - Hic et Nunc Liestal Image

The building context at Gestadeck is very heterogeneous. Buildings with diverse uses, sizes and orientations do not indicate a clear urban pattern. The project wants to coherently fit into the district by solving various specific tasks on a small scale.

ahaa - Hic et Nunc Liestal Situation

With this in mind, the space allocation is being divided over two buildings to get closer to the scale of the existing school building. Both cuboids are consistently aligned with an orthogonal pattern thus arranging the area based on the original Neoclassical building. The buildings are positioned so that well proportioned, clearly defined outside areas facing different directions are created for various uses.

ahaa - Hic et Nunc Liestal Floorplan Level 1
ahaa - Hic et Nunc Liestal Floorplan Level 2

The new school building’s floor plan is designed simply, repetitively and modularly and guarantees a high level of flexibility in planning and use. The double-loaded standard floor with central circulation allows for each floor to be divided into two autonomous learning groups. The two sports halls are offset from each other with the underground hall being lit by skylights and the aboveground hall opening up onto the court across the whole length. An all-weather pitch on the roof completes the offer of diverse outdoor-spaces.

ahaa - Hic et Nunc Liestal Image

4th prize, selective competition 2017
Client: City of Liestal
Images: Studio 12

House with Three Courtyards

Single-family home, extension
Galati, Romania
ahaa - House with Three Courtyards Galati Image

The existing “wagon house” on a classic long and narrow plot of land typical for Romania had developed over generations through the traditional connecting of rooms one after the other. Like many others of its kinds, it no longer met the current usage requirements in any way and was to be demolished or abandoned.

ahaa - House with Three Courtyards Galati Model
ahaa - House with Three Courtyards Galati Situation
ahaa - House with Three Courtyards Galati Image
ahaa - House with Three Courtyards Galati Image

The two basic problems of this type, lighting and access to every room, are solved by a simple but radical architectural gesture. The structural fabric of the building is largely preserved and allows the residents to continue living in a home steeped in history.

ahaa - House with Three Courtyards Galati Floorplans

By incorporating a long living room on the side and at the same time transforming one indoor room into a central outdoor space, every room can be accessed directly as well as lit naturally through the intimate courtyard in front of each one. Small gable roofs replace the unsound roof and trace the outline of the house’s original cells. As a result, the new living space grows out of the existing building and is given its own unique character at the same time. The building’s shape and homogeneous metal skin are reminiscent of warehouse or commercial buildings and an ironic play on the many parasitic uses that the city’s living quarters have to battle with.

ahaa - House with Three Courtyards Galati Image
ahaa - House with Three Courtyards Galati Image
ahaa - House with Three Courtyards Galati Sections
ahaa - House with Three Courtyards Galati Image
ahaa - House with Three Courtyards Galati Image
ahaa - House with Three Courtyards Galati Elevation
ahaa - House with Three Courtyards Galati Image

Direct commission 2010
Construction: 2012 – 2013
1st prize, Anuala 2013, Bucharest, Residential
Images: Andrei Margulescu


Retirement home
Büren an der Aare, Switzerland
ahaa - Amaryllis Bueren Model

The retirement home is situated at the edge of the village in a small-scale residential district and stands out like a sore thumb in its surroundings due to its shape and size. The fact that an extension will make the size of the building even bigger is being counteracted by the delicate features on the ends of the two new buildings. They emerge from the existing building on the one hand and try to pick up on the surrounding district in their size on the other hand with their projections and recesses and gable roofs.


ahaa - Amaryllis Bueren Situation

Based on the existing corridor with linearly arranged rooms, the communal area on the nursing floors extends towards the end of the building and fans out like a windmill searching for light and a view. At the same time, three well exposed communal rooms facing the different corners of the building are created per residential group. Each residential group therefore has two spatial focuses: firstly the quiet, intimate communal area without any through traffic and secondly the bustling zone with main circulation and wards in the middle of the building.

The project is an attempt to turn a generic, quite anonymous building into a specific interior landscape whose qualities democratically benefit all users.

ahaa - Amaryllis Bueren Image
ahaa - Amaryllis Bueren Floorplan
ahaa - Amaryllis Bueren Elevation
ahaa - Amaryllis Bueren Elevation
ahaa - Amaryllis Bueren Image

4th prize, selective competition 2017
Client: Altersheim Büren an der Aare
Images: Onirism


Collège de la Romanellaz, primary school
Crissier, Switzerland
ahaa - Flintstone Crissier Image
ahaa - Flintstone Crissier Image
ahaa - Flintstone Crissier Image
ahaa - Flintstone Crissier Image
ahaa - Flintstone Crissier Image

The new school building with 6 primary classes, 2 kindergartens, a gym and auditorium is situated in the middle of the village, right next to the historic village centre. The school children come from all directions and the view on all sides is exciting. Consequently, the building does not have a specific orientation and can be entered from two sides on two different levels. The large construction volume is integrated into the small-scale setting by two recesses and several bends in the roof, forcing itself into the tight building perimeter.

ahaa - Flintstone Crissier Situation

The school is organised around a double central staircase which is the unifying element that links all four floors to each other and at the same time allows for escape over two separate fire compartments in the event of a fire. Thanks to the central layout of the two staircases, corridors are avoided and the circulation area is minimal yet can be used on all floors as a spacious foyer. Although large parts of the building are sunken, all the classrooms are lit from two sides, the gym even from three.

ahaa - Flintstone Crissier Model

The seemingly randomly arranged façade openings do not follow an externally imposed design principle but are a direct reproduction of the organisation inside. The lintel and parapet details show affiliation with local vernacular elements but are formally alienated and functionally reinterpreted to accommodate technical elements such as sunscreens.

ahaa - Flintstone Crissier Elevation
ahaa - Flintstone Crissier Image
ahaa - Flintstone Crissier Image
ahaa - Flintstone Crissier Image
ahaa - Flintstone Crissier Image
ahaa - Flintstone Crissier Image
ahaa - Flintstone Crissier Floorplan Level 4
ahaa - Flintstone Crissier Floorplan Level 3
ahaa - Flintstone Crissier Floorplan Level 2
ahaa - Flintstone Crissier Floorplan Level 1
ahaa - Flintstone Crissier Image
ahaa - Flintstone Crissier Image
ahaa - Flintstone Crissier Section
ahaa - Flintstone Crissier Image
ahaa - Flintstone Crissier Image
ahaa - Flintstone Crissier Image
ahaa - Flintstone Crissier Image

1st prize, open competition 2012
Construction: 2014 – 2016
Client: Commune de Crissier
Civil engineer: Muttoni Fernández
Artwork: Atelier Daniel Schlaepfer
Images: Andrei Margulescu


National aquatics center
Tenero, Switzerland
ahaa - Float Tenero Image

The sport campus’ distinctive horizontal style and expanse appears to be mainly responsible for the genius loci: the virtually scaleless plane is to become the project’s central idea as the main ingredient for the place’s identity. The simplicity and pragmatism of the rectangular development pattern are seen as quality: this design is to be reinforced and expanded.

ahaa - Float Tenero Situation
ahaa - Float Tenero Image
ahaa - Float Tenero Floorplan Level 1
ahaa - Float Tenero Floorplan Level 2

The building is organised on two floors. The introverted ground floor accommodates all the technical functions as well as the entrance and cloakrooms. The extroverted top floor is exempt from being used for anything else and is exclusively for sport. The large hall is given a rhythm and covered by a space-creating concertinaed roof without any supports. The indoor swimming pool’s long, light volume floats, as it were, over the campus on the projecting solid concrete base. Besides the sheer length of the building, the horizontal thrust is also accentuated by the recessed base. Despite its considerable size, the volume looks like a recumbent pavilion due to the ratio between the building length and height and the back folded roof.

ahaa - Float Tenero Sections

While the floor plan follows a strict rectangular layout, the building breaks away from this rigour in its profile. The sculptural roof throws itself up over the diving tower and traces the outline of the surrounding Ticino mountains with its silhouette.

ahaa - Float Tenero Model

5th prize, open competition 2017
Client: Federal Office for Construction BBL
Landscape: Christoph Wey
Civil engineer: BlessHess
Energy and building technology: JOP
Images: Eve

Semper viridis

Erlenhaus, retirement home and apartments
Engelberg, Switzerland
ahaa - Semper Viridis Engelberg Image

30 new retirement apartments are to be built on land on the outskirts of the village and the existing retirement home is to be modernised with roughly 50 rooms and adapted to current standards. The project is based on the size and structure of the existing nursing home, which it is developing further. This results in a harmonious ensemble that is strongly interwoven with the village structure, compared to the situation today. It also gives rise to a relationship with the nearby monastery both morphologically and typologically.

ahaa - Semper Viridis Engelberg Situation

For a high level of flexibility, the old and new building are connected on all floors so that the retirement apartments can be converted into nursing rooms if needs change in future. The apartment floor plan is also based on the principle of adaptability: the bedrooms can always be allocated to one or another apartment. Access to the apartment over a balcony that is open in the summer expands on the old building’s type of circulation and establishes a close relationship with the newly created courtyards sheltered from the wind as a semi-public meeting place.

ahaa - Semper Viridis Engelberg Floorplan Level 1
ahaa - Semper Viridis Engelberg Floorplan Level 2
ahaa - Semper Viridis Engelberg Image
ahaa - Semper Viridis Engelberg Section
ahaa - Semper Viridis Engelberg Model

3rd prize, selective competition 2015
Landscape: weber + brönnimann
Client: Gemeinde Engelberg
Images: Onirism


32 housing units for border guards
Vernier, Switzerland
ahaa - Ivy Vernier Floorplan Level 3
ahaa - Ivy Vernier Floorplan Level 2
ahaa - Ivy Vernier Floorplan Level 1
ahaa - Ivy Vernier Image

The new building with 32 apartments is situated on the outskirts of Geneva on a gentle south-facing slope. The building is inhabited by custom officers with an irregular daily routine and the noise pollution due to its proximity to the motorway and airport entails high user-specific soundproofing requirements. The new building’s special floor plan emerges in the wake of this issue, based on an individual apartment whose living space faces two or three sides. Thus giving the residents the advantage that they always have a choice of which direction they want to face.

ahaa - Ivy Vernier Situation

The polygonal building volume avoids having to turn the back on the existing buildings and integrates them into the new logic of the communal outdoor spaces. The floor plan’s efficient organisation of space, which always organises three apartments around a central circulation area, allows to compensate for the relatively large façade and creates economical apartments. The organic floor plan that looks wild at first glance is structured extremely rationally and only uses two angles. Each room in the building has at least three easily furnishable right angles while any residual surfaces in the layout are reduced to an absolute minimum.

ahaa - Ivy Vernier Model
ahaa - Ivy Vernier Section
ahaa - Ivy Vernier Image

1st prize, open competition 2014
Construction: 2018 – 2020
Client: Federal Office for Construction BBL
Landscape: weber + brönnimann
Images: Studio 12 / Onirism


Räfis primary school, campus extension
Buchs, Switzerland
ahaa - Palaestra Buchs Image
ahaa - Palaestra Buchs Situation

The school complex with its scattered outside spaces is to be reorganised. A double sports hall, kindergartens, daycare facility for children, general and specialist classrooms are to be distributed partly over the existing and partly over new buildings. The complex is going to be surrounded on all sides by residential buildings in a few years, which is why it should be open and accessible all round as a free space. The outside areas are to be distributed around the school building as equal spaces avoiding a front and back. The listed old school building is given a fitting forecourt thanks to the positioning of the new double sports hall.

ahaa - Palaestra Buchs Floorplan Level 1
ahaa - Palaestra Buchs Floorplan Level 2

The wide flat land’s use for sport and as a school led to the ancient palaestra reference, which was organised around a large court surrounded by pillars. As there is no need to protect the introverted court in the village setting of Buchs, the portico in the centre is being separated and reassembled corner to corner. Thus connecting the various scattered outside areas together and bringing them to life.

ahaa - Palaestra Buchs Image
ahaa - Palaestra Buchs Sections
ahaa - Palaestra Buchs Image

2nd prize, selective competition 2014
Client: Gemeinde Buchs
Images: Onirism / Studio 12

Under the Attic

Top floor apartment, refurbishment
Bucharest, Romania
ahaa - Under the Attic, Bucharest, Image

The screed under the pitched roof is left unused in most Romanian residential buildings as fire safety regulations do not permit for its use. A lot of potential space is left unexploited. This is also the case in this interwar period housing block where the young owner outgrew the apartment on the top floor with its cellular structure.

ahaa - Under the Attic, Bucharest, Image
ahaa - Under the Attic, Bucharest, Image
ahaa - Under the Attic, Bucharest, Image
ahaa - Under the Attic, Bucharest, Image
ahaa - Under the Attic, Bucharest, Image
ahaa - Under the Attic, Bucharest, Image
ahaa - Under the Attic, Bucharest, Image
ahaa - Under the Attic, Bucharest, Image

To create a feeling of spaciousness in the tight space, the project establishes various visual relationships in particular by breaking up the sanitary functions. The living and dining area surround a previously barely usable terrace extended inwards; the free-standing kitchen furniture divides it without cutting the visual reference. An astonishing abundance of space is created by introducing the third dimension. A previously dark, unattractive corner becomes the spatial heart thanks to zenithal lighting. The project evades the usual clichés associated with attic apartments as the roof space is only integrated in a fragmentary way to create vertical accents in places.

ahaa - Under the Attic, Bucharest, Section
ahaa - Under the Attic, Bucharest, Section

Built-in furniture units turning the corners accentuate the flowing space. A minimalist selection of materials avoids them competing with the spatial diversity. Like the resident, the apartment has something eccentrically cosmopolitan and modestly down-to-earth at the same time.

ahaa - Under the Attic, Bucharest, Image
ahaa - Under the Attic, Bucharest, Image

Direct commission 2011
Construction: 2012 – 2013
1st prize, Anuala 2014, Bucharest, Interior
Nomination, EU Mies Award 2015, Barcelona
Images: Andrei Margulescu