Sonvida Parking

The project is located in an exclusive district on the outskirts of Basel. Sixteen villa-style residences comprising thirty-two residential units share a basement garage large enough for fifty-seven vehicles. This commission provided the final impetus to establish HHF architects.

The basement garage ties the project together like a strong spine. It was designed as a street roughly 150 m long, so as to ensure each resident direct access from their car to their home. As a place used daily, it also demanded a striking visual impact. Considerable attention was therefore given to access and maneuverability, and a solution was sought for natural lighting. The roof of the garage functions as a landscape design element, forming hill-like ridges, into whose ends three large skylights are set, and simultaneously serving to link the underground and above-ground areas. The ‘hills’ furthermore transform the open spaces between the residences into a designed landscape, establish a defined area for each house, and ensure a measure of privacy.

This groundbreaking project was to point the way for the office: we discovered that designing infrastructural elements can be just as much fun as designing an elaborate house with expensive materials. Our realization that the structural shell of a building is virtually the only thing on a construction site that can be completely controlled was to have a decisive impact on subsequent projects.