House Bucher | Fribourg

Project: 2011
Realization: 2013
Mandate: renovation of an urban house with three apartments.
Owner of the project: private
Type of mandate: competition, first prize
Architecture: ds architecte
Collaborator(s): Dominique Schmutz, Madeleine Bodmer
Construction management: Dominique Schmutz, Madeleine Bodmer
Static: Tschopp Ingenieure, Berne
Static W: Retschitzki Alain Fribourg et Gutknecht Holzbau, Morat
Photographies: Gempeler, Berne
Site area: 80 m2
Useable area: 142 m2

Construction Program

Two rental apartments, one apartment for private use.
Renovation of the ground floor studio and the creation of a three-room apartment on the first floor.
Conception of a four-room maisonette apartment on the second floor and underneath the roof.


The project of transforming the house located at ruelle des Maçons 9 was the subject of an idea competition organized by the owner for the purpose of developing the property, taking into account the historical heritage of the site.
Due to its location at the crossroads of pedestrian streets in the heart of the “quartier du Bourg” district, designing the project represented an opportunity to foster relations with the urban landscape. Rich spatial sequences find their place in this layout, including the college stairs (“escaliers du Collège”), the “ruelle des Maçons,” the small public square forming the entrance of the house, as well as the view on the gardens next to St Michel, the Cathedral and the Sarine Valley.
Research was carried out on how to achieve a contemporary reinterpretation and redefinition of the living area in the historical town. The architectural intervention proposed improving the original substance of the listed house while offering modern and bright apartments. The improvement of interior lighting was made possible by a careful choice of construction methods and materials, namely fine window profiles made of unpainted wood, a light-coloured fir floor without baseboards and a neutral interior mineral paint. The result is a very calm and cheerful living atmosphere thanks to redefining the relationship between rooms and minimizing the materials.
The daytime area of the maisonette apartment was located at roof level at a double height and with a direct view on the Sarine Valley. To achieve this, the staircase built in the 60s was interrupted and used to construct a terrace overlooking the city.
The building envelope underwent minimal modifications. New openings in the north façade were dictated by the desire to establish a visual relationship with the garden. The elimination of existing wood panelling at the entrance and of an insignificant old chimney, as well as the conservation of various building facades, allowed the character of the house to be maintained in its original state.