Flamatt I, Terraced Houses, Atelier 5, Flamatt 1958, Brutalism © HEARTBRUT / Karin Hunter Bürki

FLAMATT I

TERRACED HOUSE, ATELIER 5, WÜNNEWIL-FLAMATT, CANTON OF FRIBOURG, 1957-1958

© Images & Text: Karin Bürki / HEARTBRUT

Flamatt I counts as one of the first and most influential brutalist residential buildings in Switzerland. The terraced-housing plan redefined and simplified «béton brut» Le Corbusier design concepts for the Swiss habitat and put Atelier 5 on the international map.

Located in the municipiality of Wünnewil-Flamatt near Bern, the box-on-stilts in exposed concrete is sandwiched between the rivers Sense and Taverna. The south-facing building comprises 5 single-family units and a studio-house section. With its rooftop terrace with stair and vibrant colour scheme (by artist Rolf Iseli) and other design details, the building cites various signature Le Corbusier-isms. At the period, Flamatt I was fêted as a masterclass in low-cost construction and high-standard living. The building also reiterates similar plans the studio used for their single family house in Rothrist (AG) and the Boiler Factory in Thun (BE), both completed in 1958. 

In contrast to the rough concrete exterior, the walls of the airy interiors are painted a pristine, modernist white. Spanish clay was used for the living room . The structure served as a prototype for Halen estate (1961), itself a pioneer of low-rise, high density housing. It was later joined by Flamatt II & III, also designed by Atelier 5. The terraced house is listed as an Object of National Importance.
Flamatt I, Terraced Houses, Atelier 5, Flamatt 1958, Brutalism © HEARTBRUT / Karin Hunter Bürki
Flamatt I, Terraced Houses, Atelier 5, Flamatt 1958, Brutalism © HEARTBRUT / Karin Hunter Bürki
Flamatt I, Terraced Houses, Atelier 5, Flamatt 1958, Brutalism © HEARTBRUT / Karin Hunter Bürki
Flamatt I, Terraced Houses, Atelier 5, Flamatt 1958, Brutalism © HEARTBRUT / Karin Hunter Bürki
Flamatt I, Terraced Houses, Atelier 5, Flamatt 1958, Brutalism © HEARTBRUT / Karin Hunter Bürki
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