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Issue #21

We built this whole building using the dimensions of the brick as the lowest common denominator. In that way we managed to minimise the cutting of bricks and construction waste and
to improve the insulating properties.

Duplex Architects

architects Anne Kaestle and Dan Schürch Cluster House House A, Duplex Architekten
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Cluster House, House A front view modern Zurich
© Johannes Marburg


Green building

Cluster House – House A in Switzerland is trying to address current issues: how people can live together, how they can relate to each other and relate to public space from the inside to the outside, and how can they share facilities?

House A is part of the new Hunziker Areal in the north of Zurich. This site features 450 flats, united under the promising title “mehr als wohnen” – more than living. The flats are spread across13 buildings of various designs by different architects. “More than living” means providing more than just living space – the residents and members of the cooperative are offered various services like car sharing and electro mobility (if they do not have a car of their own), communal kitchens, greenhouses, herb gardens and hotel rooms in the building for visitors.

Cluster House, House A front view balcony Zurich
© Johannes Marburg
Cluster House, House A front view modern Zurich
© Johannes Marburg

However, the most impressive feature of the residence is its new and innova- tive fl plan typologies, such as that of House A by Duplex Architects. It offers its inhabitants both a big shared space and their own area to retreat to. This area can be described as a mini-flats consisting of one or two rooms, a tea kitchen and a little shower room. The inhabitants are very happy with the new concept. Marco Gähler, 27, a physicist & chemist, comments, “Four hundred square metres, with a huge kitchen-diner, an even bigger living room, an usually large loggia you can throw parties in, and all of that in the middle of Zurich? I would call that social luxury.” Anna Hambitzer, 28, a physicist and medical technician, says, “Being here really is more than just living. This building is a contribution to a future form of coexistence that transcends society, far beyond the classic student flat share.”

modern interior living space Cluster House House A
© Johannes Marburg
modern interior kitchen men cooking Cluster House House A
© Johannes Marburg


Aside from the social aspects, one of the most impressive features of House A is the innovative way it is built. The entire external wall was built as a monolithic masonry wall with integrated insulation in the form of perlite. All geometric dimensions of the building, such as the height of the floors and the width of the windows, are based on a multiple of the dimensions of the bricks, so waste was kept down to a minimum. In order to avoid reducing their insulating properties, the bricks were not placed on a bed of mortar, but rather glued to one another with 2 mm-thick polyurethane foam layers. Thanks to all these measures, no additional thermal insulation was necessary.

  • Project name
    Cluster House, House A, Zurich, Switzerland
  • Architect
    Duplex Architects
  • Client
    Baugenossenschaft mehr als wohnen
  • Used products

    Poroton-T7, Poroton-T8, DryFix polyurethane foam

  • Year of completion
Schlagmann_Poroton_T7 T8 Wienerberger clay brick


Poroton T7 – Germany

WB Poroton T7 Wienerberger


Poroton T8 – Germany

Dryfix porotherm wienerberger


Dryfix – Austria