Built in Königshardt, an airy residential district in the German city of Oberhausen, that lies in the heart of the Ruhr, the villa designed by German practice Engelshove Architekten redefines traditional rationalist standards through a minimalist language that pays meticulous attention to detail. The main body of the two-storey building, crowned with a classic flat roof, is composed of a series of primary shapes: a play of rectangular boxes in which solid portions of concrete with a rigorously white finish alternate with large, fullheight areas of glazing that flood the interiors with natural light, opening them onto the garden. Volumes are set back at the upper level in a carefully calibrated way, which augments compositional dynamism and creates large terraces overlooking the green surroundings.
Text: Guido Musante
Furniture and finishes are harmonised by a common theme of neutrals. The whites and greys of the lacquered furniture are mixed with warm accents of smoked glass and inserts of bleached oak flooring. Creating a sense of connection between the various materials, the floors in 14 mm thick X-Beton porcelain stoneware with concrete effect by Cotto d’Este, also used outdoors in the swimming pool area and terraces, act as a further instrument for perceptive connection. The significant aesthetic qualities of X-Beton are however not the only reason that led to their specification by the architect and client. Produced using a special, patented technology, the tiles in this line have undergone a special antibacterial treatment that makes their surface eliminate 99.9 per cent of harmful micro-organisms, while being completely non-toxic and safe for health. The great formal simplicity of the building thus gradually reveals when observed in more detail a surprising complexity, both on a visual level and on a functional one, making it a contemporary interpretation of the notion of rationalism that extends right down to the smallest scale.