Architect, Kazakhstan

Mohammed Adib, Intercon Architect in Barcelona about a house project in Kazakhstan

“Our main scope is hotels and residential developments in Middle East and Asia. We just work on our biggest project ever, nearly 700,000 square meters of shopping malls, hotels, offices, and apartments in Saudi Arabia. In Kazakhstan, it started with one client who introduced me to many more. One of our commercial clients over there had an accident: her house burnt down. She wanted a quick replacement and as we had used prefabricated off-site constructed houses before, we thought this would be the right solution. Construction quality in Kazakhstan is quite bad and the client preferred a very high standard, which is why we contacted Baufritz. Our client at first feared to be limited by the prefabrication; e.g. she wanted far higher ceilings than the European standard of 2.5 metres. Soon, she experienced that the Baufritz system is absolutely custom-made. She wanted to live in a modern house with her daughter; and as the fire in her previous house had started in the attic she opted for a flat roof.
The view is spectacular: mountains to the South, the city of Almaty to the North, 300 metres below. We planned large glazing everywhere so that you enjoy these views. The high quality of glazing and insulation Baufritz provided even copes with the extreme temperatures far below zero. My client really likes the openness of the architecture. Walking up the stairs, she looks down on Almaty. And on her way to the bathroom she sees the mountains.
The main building is about 440 square meters. It has two floors; upstairs there are two bedrooms, the main suite for the mother and a bigger suite for the daughter including a dressing room and an office. And there is a family room tying these two units together upstairs. On the ground floor, there is an office for the mother, and a very big open-space kitchen/living/dining room. In the interior, the units, the fixed furniture, and the floors are all natural oak. It's a very serene atmosphere. The views are so nice that we did not want to overemphasize the inside. The actual form of the house consists of two boxes. We treated them with fibre cement material and coloured them beige and dark brown. Two outhouses of the previous house weren’t affected by the fire; so we just cladded them with the same material as the new house, using corresponding colours.
It is a very exclusive private development where all the houses are in red brick and pitched roof. This house really is very different, and it is quite visible from the street, especially during the construction, when we had to remove the fences. The neighbours were very curious at the beginning and seemed to feel uncomfortable. At the end of the construction, they thought it is a very nice house and a nice addition to the area. Many people come by and have a look at it. First of all, they couldn’t believe it got constructed so quickly.  Secondly, it is very different to what is available in this region. As Almaty has a very high earthquake level we worked with the Baufritz engineers to ensure maximum stability.
Building the house took four months in total. It is nearly no difference working with Baufritz in Germany or in Kazakhstan. A German company that can offer their products internationally is very much appreciated. The product is incredible. I visited thirty, forty different companies that build houses of that kind but Baufritz is the best by far, from product quality, and from design flexibility. The architect who wants to work with them should be able to provide additional services such as coordinating all the other craftsmen like plumbers, electricians and so on.
We think, the Baufritz system is scalable and can also be used for bigger developments abroad. We now consider working with them for a hotel project in Ghana where we will have a series of bungalows. And recently, we built a hotel in Kazakhstan and now the client wants an extension of about sixty rooms in eight storeys. We consider mixing systems: the frame structure built in steel like a grid and the wall panels from Baufritz.”