The Buchli, the Schärer family’s private residence, sits atop a small hill overlooking the company site in Münsingen, offering spectacular views all round. Named after the property’s field name, it was completely and meticulously renovated in 2019 to mark its 50th anniversary. The building was designed and constructed by Fritz Haller, one of the most influential Swiss architects of the 20th century. A pioneer of modular construction, Haller developed the MINI, MIDI and MAXI modular building block and installation systems, based on the principle of steel-framed construction. Haller and Paul Schärer jr. also applied this systematic approach to furniture design, creating the world-renowned USM Haller modular furniture system.
The Schärer house was Fritz Haller’s first residential project to be based on a prefabrication system. It is located on a steep slope overlooking the company site. Positioned parallel to the slope, the rooms on the top floor of the house face the Aare river basin and open up on all sides. The house is accessed from above, with the driveway leading from the road to the covered parking area on the ground floor. The house is built on a support grid, which follows a 1:2:1:2:1 rhythm. On the ground floor, the middle axis serves as the entrance hall with a metal spiral staircase that leads up to the first floor, which is elevated atop columns. The basement houses an office and a guest room. On the first floor, the central installation and circulation area borders onto the kitchen and three north-east-facing bedrooms with en suite bathrooms. Extending to the south-west across the whole width of the building is the spacious open-plan living/dining area with a balcony. The outer axis also forms a balcony at the back. The built-in cabinets and central kitchen units were designed by Haller. Even the freestanding fireplace fits into the grid, just like the rest of the interior features, which were mainly built using the USM Haller modular furniture system. The tall, narrow, rectangular windows with a width of just 1.20 metres play a major part in shaping the building’s overall external appearance. The building was extensively renovated in 2019, while still maintaining the original construction principles and strictly complying with historic preservation guidelines. The Buchli is now used to accommodate USM guests.