Germany, Bergisch Gladbach
A successful update for a new age: perfectly positioned, this sophisticated villa stands on a slight rise in the centre of a manicured garden, with both in close relationship to each other. The new, large-scale glazed front on the ground floor turns outdoors into indoors – the only wallpaper is the view of the outside. The plot of land is part of an old garden and villa development from the start of the 20th century. At that time, a project developer sold large parcels of real estate in the countryside just outside Cologne and advertised with the new tram line, which ensured a perfect link to the city. The neighbourhood has retained the atmosphere of that time into the present day, with the beeches, oaks and redwoods there being over a century old. In this interview architect Erika Werres, currently a manager at WvM Immobilien + Projektentwicklung GmbH, reflects back on the successful project.
What was your first impression when you saw the plot?
I thought of what an incredible wonder lay dormant there, and how great it would be to wake it from its slumber. It was a task we took on with a lot of enthusiasm.
What structural changes did you make?
The 1950s room layout was definitely no longer appropriate for today. The kitchen was separate from the rest of the living space, the dining room was a separate room, and the top floor had an overly large bedroom for the parents and two children's bedrooms with really unequal floor space. It had a room layout that didn't come close to meeting modern requirements for open-plan living and definitely not the clients' particular demands for a family-orientated space. We wanted three children’s' rooms and two studies. Thankfully, the structure of the house had the potential to make all of this a reality. The building was completely hollowed out, with the construction of the new roof structure without supports and the large-scale corner glazing on the ground floor being the biggest challenges.
How did you come up with the architectural design?
The central focus of the design was open-plan living in harmony with the surrounding nature. For us, it was also about re-interpreting the 1950s, when the building was first constructed. In this context we wanted to create a modern villa "in miniature".
What is your opinion on the Schüco sliding products?
The Schüco sliding system is fantastic, especially because there are almost no limits in terms of the size. It's easy to operate and stands out with a wonderful, timeless design. In short, it's a high-value product that you can enjoy your entire life. Perfect functionality, maximum burglar resistance and security, speak for themselves when it comes to quality.