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Uber attic: an attic in Westphalia has been transformed by judicious remodelling into a fashionable loft with spaces defined by strong forms and simple materials. (Interior Design).

In remodelling an attic in an apartment block in Herzebrock, Westphalia, Drewes + Strenge have opened it out both horizontally and vertically. Working around the existing bathroom and central public staircase, neither of which could be moved, the architects took down partitions to create a flow of space while maintaining the attic structure of wooden beams and columns and the sloping eaves. The fixed elements were used as a means of organizing different functions: bedroom and bathroom are on one side of the stairs, living rooms on the other.

The core of the apartment is the kitchen, which acts as a hinge between the two sections, opening onto the dining room through a large horizontal slot cut into the dividing wall. While bed and bathrooms are private, enclosed volumes, living and dining rooms have been opened up to the full extent of the roof pitch. The removal of ceilings introduced verticality and allowed insertion of a mezzanine gallery and study. This is reached by a spare, pleated ribbon of steel staircase.

Visual connections between kitchen and bedroom and from the grand piano in the living room through to the bathroom, are deliberate and intended to enlarge perceptions of space. When required, a massive sliding door of solid oak protects the privacy of the bedroom.

Materials and finishes -- epoxy resin floors, simple plastered walls, steel, precast concrete and waxed oak -- are austere, and colours muted: gun-metal grey and white counterpoised to the warmth of wood. Furniture and fittings, such as the abstract evocation of an antique canopy over the bed, are similarly austere, and spaces flowing one into another are defined by strong, simple forms carefully modelled by light and shadow. For their Italian clients, living in this northern European climate, the architects have managed to evoke something of their southern heritage. V.G.


Drewes + Strenge Architekten

Project team

Frank Drewes, Martin Strenge, Anja Fartmann-Quitt, Kiraten Neugebauer


Christian Richters
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Article Details
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Title Annotation:Drewes and Strenge project, Germany
Publication:The Architectural Review
Geographic Code:4EUGE
Date:Sep 1, 2002
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