Lelbach Foundation

The competition brief for the design of new headquarters for the Lelbach Foundation on the shores of the Wannsee called for direct access to the marina, as well as the following program: several reception rooms, a library, a lecture hall, luxurious apartments with good views, a swimming pool, a spa and a fitness room.

Our proposal works with the theme of water sports, which are so dominant in the area, by heightening the impact of the lake and the splendid views. The Lelbach House is interpreted as an elegant club in the style of an English country house. From the foyer one has access to the Foundation’s various facilities such as the spa/wellness area and reception rooms, which open onto extensive grounds.

The façade draws on a late design by Mies van der Rohe, his Hochhaus (high rise) for the Friedrichstrasse in Berlin. The stark contrast between the soft lines of his design and the imposing nineteenth-century buildings that surround it is unsettling. The façade proposed for the Lelbach House overlays the perforated façade typical of Berlin with this major icon of the city’s un-built architecture, and thus successfully imbues an elegant, traditional residence on the Wannsee with contemporary flair.

The interior spatial sequence is inspired by the work of Mario Pani, a Mexican architect still too little known in Europe, who has created a series of incredibly elegant residences in Mexico City. The ground plan and appointments of his 'Rincon del Bosque' residence comprise a wonderful spatial sequence in which the orthogonal ground plan is communicated by a swung façade. This leitmotif is pursued in the Lelbach House, where the swung yet simply articulated facade serves to highlight how the line of trees in front of the house resonates with the orthogonal interior.