Y Point of View

architects Klemens grund, Elmar Heimbach
project Y Studio, Poggenhagen, germany
written by Gregor Maria Rutrecht

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Good books are meant to address the reader, we assume that architecture which goes beyond fulfilling functions works in a similar way by offering relations. Creating chances for the individual to enhance awareness of the external world in order to discover new standpoints in oneself. Inspiration. Getting inspired and being left alone are the basic conditions for an artist to work. The Y Studio is designed to offer this condition and give temporary home to artists of all kinds.


This project by Elmar Heimbach and Klemens Grund has made the transition from concept to reality with a unique enclosure on water. The forests in the area of Gut Harms clear up to give space to lakes and creeks. Walking east from the mansion we catch a glimpse in the distance of a silvery shiny structure with its exposed position in the middle of a lake. Coming closer we realize the obvious encounter of two contrasting spheres – the exterior and the interior. The satin matt aluminium skin made of offset printing plates blurring and reflecting in the lake contrast the warm, wooden, light which collects inside.


At the base of the Maslow hierarchy of needs, architecture represents the resistance towards the powers of nature. That is the Y’s first visual impression: a firm but also tender gesture of the existence on water. The small building has an appearance of its own: it stretches, opens, closes and makes itself transparent. There is no way to comprehend the structure‘s geometry just from one point of view. Walking around the lake we gradually understand that there is a Y-shape underneath the single-pitch roof. Views through the building vary constantly and we see a floating room which never closes up entirely.


Somehow the surrounding water acts as a connector and separator, like a threshold. Thus you need to swim or take a boat to get inside. In order to retreat, you leave the firm ground and step on a vague surface and get in by pushing the Plexiglas wall aside. The door and windows are treated like mobile walls, revolving either vertically or horizontally. It is not the doors that open – instead the room opens itself.


The interior made entirely from finish plywood surrounds the visitor like a cave because the walls, floor and ceiling are one. The reassuring and consolidating envelope reaches out into the landscape in three different directions. The woods and the waterside become a picturesque and an open limitation of the perceived space. Since the roof slope has an angle of 15°, it creates a tall working area with an upright atmosphere at the highest part of the building, whereas the sleeping area at the lowest point of the house has a quiet and horizontal feel to it.


The seemingly stationary place is set to motion by the wind though movements are limited with ropes and anchors. And we experience an inspiring agitation as well as a swaying calmness. It is like being inside a musical instrument, receiving, sending and amplifying vibrations.