saai | Archive for Architecture and Engineering

Digital Collection Egon Eiermann

Matthies private residence
1936-1937

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Matthies private residence

This small building, set weil back from the street, is consid­ered one of the most successful houses of Egon Eiermann's Berlin period. The commission for the residence came from his old school friend Heinz Matthies and his wife. They only had a rather small budget of 10,000 marks-a sum the architect ulti­mately overran by some 50 percent. The challenge of a tight budget on the one hand, and complete creative freedom on the other, suited Eiermann perfectly. Here, he could do a lot with a little-that meant finding a solution that would give his client a comfortable and aesthetically attractive harne at a reasonable price.

The basic cubic form of the house gives it a somewhat austere appearance from a distance. But a closer perspective reveals its rough, irregular surfaces, which bring it unexpect­edly to life. The three-dimensional, unsmoothed mortar of the whitewashed brick walls and the irregular slabs of slate as roofing give the house a textured quality typical of Eiermann.

Despite the small size of the house, Eiermann was able to design a flowing interior. On the ground floor, the transition from living to dining room is marked by nothing more than a beam in the ceiling. From here, one can step out onto the ter­race, or ascend via a doorless staircase to the open-plan study on the first floor. Behind it are a bedroom and bathroom. The clear division between daytime areas and nighttime areas cor­responds with the strict isolation of functional rooms such as the kitchen, basement, and bathroom in the lower-set annex.

Surprisingly, on the garden side of the Matthies private residence, Eiermann departs from his usual axial arrangement of windows in the façade. This gives the building an original, intimate character. The general principle of Eiermann's cre­ative works applies here as well-a subtle proportional bal­ance characterizes the building down to the last carefully planned detail.

Arthur Mehlstäubler

"Egon Eiermann 1904-1970. Architect and Designer", Ed. Annemarie Jaeggi, Hatje Cantz: Ostfildern-Ruit, 2004, p. 127

Project-specific information

Project Matthies private residence
Persons involved
  • Chen Kuen Lee, Mitabeiter*in Eiermann
  • Egon Eiermann, Architektur
  • Heinz Matthies, Bauherr*in
Project period 1936-1937

Object-specific information

Typology Einfamilienhaus, single-family dwellings

Site-specific information

Country Deutschland
City Potsdam