Valerio Olgiati - KN House, Zurich 2005. Both the interior and exterior walls are constructed entirely out of a sandwiched double-walled, unbroken (no formwork marks or holes), and remarkably thin white concrete. The walls are so thin that a custom concrete pouring hose had to be engineered to fit in the air gap between the two layers.
Entering at street level, you are confronted with a thin, windowless, monochromatic hallway that winds through the house’s footprint and terminates at a descending staircase. The hall and stair, through its sinuous pathway and lack of fenestration, creates a sense of mystery walking through the house, as there is no visual reference to one’s location or direction in the space. The surprise comes at the exit of the stairwell, in which one anticipates exiting into even deeper, darker underground area, but instead is greeted with a large, light-filled living space punctured by four massive, equally sized windows. Juxtaposed against the white walls, and in contrast to the cavernous nature of the stairs, the windows feel like paintings to the outside world. Engineered on chained lifts, they have the ability to be dropped below the floor, completely opening the space to the exterior.