Slides, nets and drawbridges feature
in Townhouse B14 by XTH-Berlin

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This Berlin townhouse by architecture office XTH-Berlin features doors that open like drawbridges, sloping floors that function as slides and nets that cover holes in the floors (+ slideshow).

Townhouse B14 by XTH-berlin has slanted walls and doors

XTH-Berlin inserted staggered floors throughout the building's 12-metre height to accommodate various living spaces, with bedrooms housed in slanted concrete volumes at the first and third levels featuring flaps that can be used to slide from one level to the next.

Townhouse B14 by XTH-berlin has slanted walls and doors

The house's entrance contains wardrobes, a bathroom and a spare room that can be hidden by drawing a full-height curtain, while a gap in the ceiling provides a view of the zigzagging levels that ascend to the top of the house.

Townhouse B14 by XTH-berlin has slanted walls and doors

Two concrete-walled bedrooms situated above the ground floor feature sloping wooden flaps that can be raised to connect these rooms with a platform where the piano sits.

Townhouse B14 by XTH-berlin has slanted walls and doors

A gap in this platform level allows light and views between the storeys and is covered in netting to create a safe play area.

Townhouse B14 by XTH-berlin has slanted walls and doors

A staircase leads past the two bedrooms to a living room containing a bathroom that can be cordoned off using a curtain.

Townhouse B14 by XTH-berlin has slanted walls and doors

The third bedroom is connected to this living area by a gently sloping wooden bridge, while another flight of stairs leads to a reading platform.

Townhouse B14 by XTH-berlin has slanted walls and doors

A final set of stairs continues to the top floor kitchen and dining room, which opens onto a large terrace.

Townhouse B14 by XTH-berlin has slanted walls and doors

This open-plan level features a skylight that adds to the natural light entering the space through the full-height glazing.

Townhouse B14 by XTH-berlin has slanted walls and doors

A minimal palette of materials is used throughout the interior, including concrete, pinewood flooring, steel railings and laminated spruce used for dividing walls, stairs and doors.

Townhouse B14 by XTH-berlin has slanted walls and doors

The house is located beside a park marking the site of the former Berlin Wall. Entrances on either side of the property lead to a multipurpose space for storing bikes, clothes and shoes.

Here's a project description from the architects:


Townhouse B14

The house is all about space and light.

Developed by the section it has a continuous space stretching out over the total height (12 mts), length and width of the building: from entrance hall and playing area to a music level to a living room with an open bath to a reading area to the kitchen with terrace.

Townhouse B14 by XTH-berlin has slanted walls and doors

This open space is zoned by two concrete elements 'hung' between the firewalls. They contain the private (bed) rooms. Due to their slants views are possible through the entire house.

Townhouse B14 by XTH-berlin has slanted walls and doors

Only few materials determine the interior space: fair faced concrete for the solids, plaster for the firewalls, glued-laminated spruce for dividing walls, stairs and doors, and pinewood planks for the floors, besides steel for the railings, glass for the facades and fringes for filtering views and light. Interiors like the shelves and trunks are designed by us.

Townhouse B14 by XTH-berlin has slanted walls and doors

According to the site along the former wall - the no-man's land between East and West - now the Berlin Wall Memorial, the house has a severe outside contrasting the coloured balcony houses opposite in the former West.

Townhouse B14 by XTH-berlin has slanted walls and doors

The house is built on a trapezoid lot of land of 118 m2 with a small garden in the southeast towards a residential path and the wide side of the house to the northwest facing the plain of the Berlin Wall Memorial which is mainly a park. It's part of a settlement of 16 townhouses, the two neighbouring houses are by XTH-berlin as well.

Townhouse B14 by XTH-berlin has slanted walls and doors

The nearly all-over glazed facades are structured by steel girders, which span from one dividing wall to the other and take over the cross bracing. Two lines of fringy draperies in front of the ground and second floor provide screen and cover the window frames.

Townhouse B14 by XTH-berlin has slanted walls and doors

Technically we use a heat pump (pipes going 80 mts into the ground) with panel heating and rainwater tanks in the garden for use in the toilets.

Townhouse B14 by XTH-berlin has slanted walls and doors

You enter the house from both sides: From the north beneath the concrete solid in an area with wardrobe, bathroom and the building services room. From the south directly in the living space which opens to the very top of the building. This is the level to put the bikes, do handicrafts, play kicker, a spare room and a storage room can be separated by a curtain.

Townhouse B14 by XTH-berlin has slanted walls and doors

The stairway leading up crosses the first concrete element with two sleeping rooms inside. Few steps up you reach the music area, a gallery with a horizontal net as a fall protection.

Townhouse B14 by XTH-berlin has slanted walls and doors

The two sleeping rooms can be opened to this area by the use of 2,5m x 1,5m big elevating flaps (which besides to slide and play are used to ventilate the sleeping rooms to the quiet side of the house). Further up you are on top of the first concrete element: Here you find the classic living space with sofa and oven, but also a bathroom included, to partition by curtain.

Townhouse B14 by XTH-berlin has slanted walls and doors

Via a bridge you enter the second concrete element, containing another sleeping room. The sloped wall is becoming a huge pillow.

Continuing your way up you come to an intermediate level, which is mostly used as a reading area, looking back down you view the small garden on the back side of the house and the memorial park in front.

Townhouse B14 by XTH-berlin has slanted walls and doors

Another stairway and you reach the highest level on top of the second concrete element: kitchen and dining area, opening to a terrace. A huge roof light (through which the stack-effect ventilates the to a maximum glazed house) lets the midday sun shine deep down on the lower levels.

Townhouse B14 by XTH-berlin has slanted walls and doors

Client: private
Completion: 2012
Area: approx. 230m2

Townhouse B14 by XTH-berlin has slanted walls and doors
Diagram showing the staircases and levels in the house
Site plan of Townhouse B14 by XTH-berlin has slanted walls and doors
Site plan - click for larger image
Ground floor plan of Townhouse B14 by XTH-berlin has slanted walls and doors
Ground floor plan - click for larger image
First level of Townhouse B14 by XTH-berlin has slanted walls and doors
First level - click for larger image
Second level of Townhouse B14 by XTH-berlin has slanted walls and doors
Second level - click for larger image
Third level of Townhouse B14 by XTH-berlin has slanted walls and doors
Third level - click for larger image
Section of Townhouse B14 by XTH-berlin has slanted walls and doors
Section - click for larger image
  • Richard D. James

    Somebody played too many platform videogames…

  • Jeroen van Lith

    Full straight slides because it looks clean. Sure… nice slide…

  • Onelab

    It sure is an interesting experiment. I just wonder if it actually makes for a better house?

  • Romain_M

    Life on an incline…everyday I’m tumblin’ :)

    Anyway…nice to see that Claude Parent’s theories are still valid and merit further implementation.

  • James Hunt

    A kind of brutalist Escher nightmare. Cool net though.

  • Bie L

    I sure hopes none of the inhabitants snore.