view with grass into cylinder house villa kolb

Villa Kolb

Built by architect, academic and designer Otto Kolb as a family home in Wermatswil, Zürich (1980-82). Villa Kolb is an incredibly well thought out round, light-flooded, early example of sustainability and how to recycle materials.

It’s frequently described as the cylinder home and was created at a time when there was an assumption that eco-friendly meant giving up on beauty in design.

Otto Kolb had a stellar career in the US as an academic and his knowledge of lighting and furniture design clearly came into its own in a house that takes the expression open-plan to heady heights.

view of cylinder house from outside with water present

villa kolb looking to the garden with view of copper cylinder in interior

According to his grand-daughter Ginger Zalaba of Zalaba Design who has produced Kolb Collection inspired by her grandfather’s designs;

‘He built his own dream house with his workers during quiet phases in the production, using elements left-over from producing staircases.  The house is a complete recycling product. The stones are from the site excavation work, the metal is waste from his factory. The building services concept integrates all the parts. At the centre of the house, there is a large water Otto Kolb cistern that is filled from roof water collectors. The wall panels function as wall heating. Lifestyle elements such as the open fireplace are integrated in the energy concept; water is led through the fire grate to back-up the heating system. After the sauna you can bathe in a semi-circular outdoor pool that also makes sense in energy terms, as it reflects the sun into the house.’

view of spiral otto kolb staircase

villa kolb view to sink from above

villa kolb interior with spiral stairs

Villa Kolb upper hall way with blue carpet

inside villa kolb with stone wall detail and orange chairs

Images: Philippe Stuebi Architekten ETH BSA SIA GMBH
Find Philippe on his website at

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