Courtyard house Kleinbasel by Piertzovanis Toews

Supporting component likes a jewel

Project Specs


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Appreciations towards Piertzovanis Toews for providing the following description:


The Matthäus- neighbourhood was built in hardly more than a decade as a residential district for the workers of Kleinbasel. Between 1890 and 1900 a district characterised by uniform housing blocks was built within a short period of time. As in many backyards, a small craft workshop was established directly behind the residential building. The two-storey house has already undergone several changes over the years and is now being extended to create additional space under the roof that can be used as a studio and a guest room.

▼改造后的建筑外观,external view of the house after renovation ©Simone Bossi


▼改造分析,renovation analysis ©Piertzovanis Toews

While retaining the ridge and eaves lines, the roof was opened to create a new room with more height and a new ribbon window. The existing materials were adapted and reused. The floor boards and the framework remain part of the changed house and – in a new guise – take it into the next phase of life.  The warped and skewed beams were also dismounted, cut, brushed and reinserted to remain visible. Alternating with the precisely prefabricated plywood panels, their notches and cracks reveal traces of times gone by. On the outside, the finely corrugated zinc sheeting seeks to connect with the half-industrial and half-ephemeral buildings of the backyard.

▼波纹锌板屋顶,roof made of corrugated zinc panels ©Simone Bossi

▼部分屋顶被打开,part of the roof was open up ©Simone Bossi

▼屋顶打开后形成的新空间,new space created by opening up the roof ©Simone Bossi

▼新空间,地板和框架被保留,new space, the floor and frame was remained ©Simone Bossi

▼带形窗,ribbon window ©Simone Bossi

▼地板与楼梯细部,closer view to the floor and the staircase ©Simone Bossi


In the workshop there was a turnery where numerous wooden products for the whole town were made. Frames, railing rods, candle holders, billiard rods, but also drumsticks and ratchets for the Basel carnival. A few of the many rods were selected from the pool of stock to serve as moulds for a unique washbasin.

▼由旧木材制成的盥洗池,washbasin made of rods from the stock ©Simone Bossi


The load of the roof is carried by a central support, which however escapes the statical logic. In the most unfavourable form imaginable, it makes a plea for architecture beyond rationality and a didactic striving for usefulness. Dissolved and treated like a jewel, this support, as the only visible static element, tells of lightness and joy rather than of supporting and weighing.

▼承重构件受力分析,force analysis of the support ©Piertzovanis Toews

▼承重构件外观,如同一件珠宝,external view of the support as a jewel ©Piertzovanis Toews

▼承重构件细部,details of the support ©Piertzovanis Toews

▼平面图,plan ©Piertzovanis Toews

▼整体剖面图,overall section ©Piertzovanis Toews

▼改造空间剖面图,sections of the renovated space ©Piertzovanis Toews

Office: Piertzovanis Toews, founded in 2019 in Basel
Location: Basel, Switzerland
Comission: Private
Use: Studio, guest room
Photographer: Simone Bossi

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