This large residential project in Geneva comprises three attached houses that boast a whole bevy of passive sustainability features. In addition to offering possibilities for many different uses and organizational solutions, Swiss architect Christian von Düring designed Villas Jonc as a low-maintenance residential complex that encourages social interaction without forsaking privacy for its residents. And - with its special cladding - the complex pops against the verdant landscape.
The individual dwellings have separate entrances, garages and private courtyards, while the terraces located on the opposite side create a common garden and the appearance of a single large living unit. This multifaceted approach, along with varying layouts and material combinations, creates the possibility to convert the structures into differently sized units and adapt the project to several town planning scenarios. The subtle change in appearance through the aging of the wooden facade is noticeable in the photos which combine those taken in 2009, when the building was first completed, and those capturing the furnished spaces, taken earlier this year.
The architect insisted on the use of natural materials-rammed earth, terracotta masonry and wood-according to levels of gray energy and durability. Masonry walls on the ground floor, inspired by local rural construction techniques, support the lighter timber structure above and protect the wood from humidity. Each dwelling features rammed earth walls which run the height of the entire complex. In order to introduce additional natural light into the interiors and facilitate natural ventilation, the architect designed a central skylight which, together with a manually operable trap window, helps bring cool air out from the lower levels.
In line with traditional Swiss architecture, Villas Jonc capitalize on smart design and passive sustainable features, instead of relying on expensive and difficult-to-maintain active technologies.
Photos by Thomas Jantscher