Q4 2022

10 BUILD Q4 2022 May22497 UILD Editor Sofi Bajor talks to Karen Schwichtenberg, the 2022 winner of Germany’s Best female-run Architecture Practice, about what makes a great home. As you have lived in Tokyo where you worked for architect and Pritzker laureate Kazuyo Sejima, what would you say influences you from Japanese homes? And do you bring these elements into your residential designs? Japan is one of the most densely populated countries, and the Greater Tokyo Area is the largest metropolitan area in the world. Space is scarce and expensive. I would imagine this is why Japanese architects have a long tradition of turning small rooms into great spaces – regardless of their actual size. You mention simplicity – would you describe your home designs as minimalism? It is not that I prefer minimalism for the sake of clean lines and an uncluttered aesthetic. Rather I am always thinking long term – how will this look in ten or twenty years? I want to create something the client falls in love with and wants to have around for a long time. This leads naturally to highquality and long lasting materials. During the design process we reduce the decor, the number of materials and finishes to find the essential pieces for each project. Let’s talk about your own home: What is it like? Our home was built in 1907. The plank flooring on the ground, and first floor, is still the first flooring, and there is original stucco on the ceilings. Apart from that, the entire house was in B a miserable state when we found it and needed a lot of work to be done. What do you like most about your home? Probably the windows. Originally, the rooms were not well-lit and they had this depressed feel to them. I added a lot more windows and glass doors connecting the interior with the garden. Now the rooms are bright and airy. The entire house is a tribute to light. What advice would you give someone who wants to build or refurbish their home? Find an architect who shares the same wavelength and let them bring your ideas to a whole new level. Karen Schwichtenberg Architektin, Hamburg www. schwichtenberg-architektin.de www.instagram.com/schwichtenbergarchitektin Feeling at home