The Artaria & Schmidt house type described in the exhibition guide as Block 8 cannot be surpassed in efficiency: As a one-sided “Mühlhauser floor plan” (quote: Peter Meyer, art historian), the house has only one window front and is bordered on three sides by the neighbouring houses. This organisation has the advantage of “keeping the house as warm as possible” with “the most economical use of materials” and “the lowest repair costs”.
The house offers this on a living space of only 45 m2 place for a family of four and embodies thereby the most radical conversion of the dwelling for the subsistence level. Equipped with its own bathroom, toilet and laundry room, it nevertheless offered workers’ families a level of comfort that was unusually progressive at the time.
You enter the house a little abruptly through the kitchen. On the ground floor there is the living room and the kitchen with a bathroom. A ventilation shaft in the rear corner of the house allows the extraction of humid air. Access to the upper floor is via a staircase arranged in the rear corner of the living room. In the upper floor there are the two bedrooms and the WC.
The house has no cellar. The only minimal storeroom is under the stairs. The space is optimally used thanks to the “most compact dimensions and the most economical arrangement” (quote: Führer durch die Ausstellungssiedlung 1930, page 21).
In his article in the German trade journal “Baumeister”, the architecture critic Guido Harbers noted the following positive points: “Material savings, greatest heat retention.” In contrast to this, the following points of criticism were raised: “One-sided orientation towards East or West. Ventilation through roof flap”. Nevertheless, the type of house was praised as a “successful attempt at the best use of the land”.
With their extremely reduced and efficient proposal, Artaria & Schmidt fulfilled these demands not only in retrospect, but also in the eyes of the critics of the time. The annual rent of their house type was only 876 Swiss francs.