saai | Archive for Architecture and Engineering

Digital Collection Egon Eiermann

Eiermann private residence
1959-1962

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Eiermann private residence

At about the time when Egon Eiermann accepted the commission for the Hardenberg private residence, he was working on the project of his own residence on the other side of the valley in Baden-Baden. The architect was to live here with his family from 1962 until his death. The long structure has a lightly sloped, cantilevered roof of corrugated asbestos cement sheets and features panorama glazing on the garden side. lt was designed with load-bearing cross walls–also called a bulkhead construction–divided by a stairway into two asymmetrical sections. To the northwest, at right angles to the main house, stands a two-story tower-like studio building constructed in the same way and also opening onto the garden. The longitudinal façades are equipped with canopy roofs, balconies, and sliding lattices both to provide protection against the sun, wind, and rain, and to shield the house from view. In terms of spatial organization, the interior of the main house is marked by a split-level separation of living and sleeping spaces.

Every detail of the building was treated with the utmost care in planning and execution and closely integrated into the overall design concept. As an example, the floors are covered with circular colored tiles that correspond with the larger stone slabs of the terraces and the round openings for potted plants in the floor of the balconies. The lustrous reddish-brown wood of Oregon pine was used in a variety of ways, not just for the timberwork of the roof structure and the window elements, but also for the formwork of the ceilings as well as for the built-in closets and cupboards in the kitchen, the bathrooms, and the living rooms.

The design of the balconies, with their white awnings and their railings of timber and rope–as well as a large part of the interior work–clearly echo influences of ship building, blending harmoniously with elements of Japanese architecture. Far-eastern influences are easily discernible in the Eiermann private residence, including low-pitched, overhanging gable roofs without gutters, large-format sliding doors on the garden side, and lattices reminiscent of Japanese paper walls. The predominant motif of the design was the asymmetrical principle characteristic of the traditional Japanese understanding of architecture.

Eiermann's main source of inspiration is thought to have been a book by Japanese author Tetsuro Yoshida entitled Das japanische Wohnhaus (The Japanese House and Garden, London, 1955, first published in German in 1935), to which he often referred in his lectures. The Japanese influence can be traced back to the 1930s and is already evident, for example, in the design for the Vollberg private residence in Berlin (1938-42).

In his design of the garden Eiermann opted for a low, asymmetrically placed, and dense vegetation. On one of the landscaping drawings he noted: "Principle: I want no views, no sunlight, only walls of green." By painting the façades of the buildings in a dark gray Eiermann wanted to achieve a soft blending with the greenery instead of "chopping it up as with shark's teeth" with a glaring white.

Clemens Kieser

"Egon Eiermann 1904-1970. Architect and Designer", Ed. Annemarie Jaeggi, Hatje Cantz: Ostfildern-Ruit, 2004, p. 195

Project-specific information

Project Eiermann private residence
Persons involved
  • Egon Eiermann, Architektur
Project period 1959-1962

Object-specific information

Typology Einfamilienhaus, single-family dwellings

Site-specific information

Country Deutschland
City Baden-Baden