Looking Back

13. February 2019

Garden-side facades often have it hard, suffering from unimaginatively arranged windows, balconies or terraces and often designed with little inspiration. But RALF SCHMITZ’s successful urban villas and apartment buildings prove that a perfected posterior is also crucial to the spectacular architectural whole. Designed with as much refinement and eye to detail as their street-facing counterparts, the “hidden” facades of the properties are equally well thought-out and always functional and aesthetic.

Blick Zurück – Eisenzahn Berlin Rückfassade
Eisenzahn 1 - Berlin rear terrace
Eisenzahn – Berlin – Terasse

EISENZAHN 1 – Berlin, rear terrace

Floor-length windows allow copious light into the rooms, wide terraces invite residents to relax outdoors and a morning stretch on the balcony directly off the master bedroom is planned as thoroughly as a grand foyer. SCHMITZ architecture does not subscribe to a hierarchy because backside views are like the soul of the house: it is here that a building shows its private side.

So why should it deserve less attention?

“Harmoniously flowing into one another” is how Architect Sebastian Treese describes the posterior facades of the grand EISENZAHN I near Berlin’s Kurfürstendamm. A modern interpretation of classic style, and an oasis in the midst of a bustling city. The bright stucco of the spectacular apartment building can be best viewed in its beautiful entirety of form and function from the shared garden behind.

In Berlin’s classic villa district, Grunewald, the grand building on Wissmannstraße, with its raised first floor, bel étage, and penthouse, houses a trio of extraordinary apartments that can be seen in their unity from the back garden. Designed with calm and smart proportions, the noble architecture alludes to Palladio’s principles. Even the top floor includes numerous windows and balconies to afford views of the nearby forest and lakes.

City villa Wissmannstrasse Berlin-Grunewald, view from the garden
Ganz privat: Die Stadtvilla in der Wissmannstraße von seiner Rückansicht

City villa Wissmannstrasse Berlin-Grunewald, view from the garden

Garden side of the noble ensemble of two city villas in Rheinallee - Dusseldorf
Zurückhaltend edel zeigt sich das Ensemble zweier Stadtvillen in der Rheinallee zur Gartenseite hin

Garden side of the noble ensemble of two city villas in Rheinallee – Dusseldorf

Modern classicism and contemporary design define the character of the townhouses on Düsseldorf’s waterside promenade, just steps away from the Rhein. The view of the delicately stuccoed and brick facades suggests the high ceilings behind the floor-length windows in the garden level. In the upper stories, too, wide terraces and balconies offer uninterrupted views of the trees. An posterior façade that couldn’t better represent the exclusive overall concept.

As you can see, a pretty back can promise much, and the design possibilities for the garden-side facade are no less exciting than for any other side.