Livio Vacchini - Switzerland
Apartment and Office Building
Casa Alfredo

Riedmühlestrasse 8, Dietlikon
1984 - 1986

With the appearance of a palazzo, this apartment and office building designed by Livio Vacchini sits between anonymous constructions in the suburbs of Zurich.
This building is the result of the third commission by the Piatti company for buildings in Dietlikon. The other realized project is located just a few steps away,
but the Casa Maria is unrecognizably changed. The Casa Maria (1982 - 1983) was designed as a hostel for seasonal workers, the other project (1983) which was never built,
was for an administration building. With the Casa Alfredo some kind of hybrid was realized. The construction is divided into one half for residences and another part for offices to be rented.

The proposal of Livio Vacchini is in strong contrast to the traditional real estate solution with offices on the lower floors and housing units on the upper levels.
In this building the very different contents are combined in a single, unified organism. In fact, the building is a compact volume with a square plan that does not reveal its function
or its internal organisation. All three levels feature the same layout. The placement of the structure on the external perimeter allows a free plan and creates a single, non-specialized space.
This space is symmetrically divided in two equal parts by the wall which cuts across the nucelus of vertical access and services.

The construction is placed on a base, and all four sides feature a series of pronounced pilasters in concrete, which support the floor slabs.
Great rigor and clarity give the building its characteristic appearance. The rough concrete structure is refined with bands of dark natural stone along each story.
Vertical plates of marmor are located on both sides of the windows and give the building a breath of luxury, in coherence to the rather generous layout of the apartments.
The entrance staircase is placed against the main facade, and bridges the access to the underground parking. Through the abstract treatment of the volume,
Vacchini manages to combine the two apparently irreconcilable functional aspects of working and residence.