Anaïs Architektur: Conversion and extension of a semi-detached house - best architects 22

Anaïs Architektur

Conversion and extension of a semi-detached house

best architects 22

renovation and addition


Zurich, Switzerland


Seraina Wirz


The clients – a young family in need of more space – live in one half of a duplex built in 1923. Their home had already undergone a substandard extension in the 1980s, but this space did not have any internal connection to the rooms above. Thus, at the start of the design process, their home was marked by a large, but poorly lit and disconnected subterranean area – and by the neighbours’ abutting extension, which spanned their entire façade. The project is located in a quiet residential neighbourhood on the idyllic Trottenstrasse, amidst a patchwork of gardens and green areas of various sizes. As well as finally linking the subterranean addition to the main building, the new extension creates a visual connection from the dining room across to the living space and out into the garden. Its large windows can be opened up completely to allow for summertime use as a veranda, open to the light and air, but shielded from the elements. While its façade enters into a dialogue with both the original building and the neighbours’ addition, the new extension presents itself as an independent volume, self-confident and yet respectful to the fabric of the existing building. A delicate outer skin wraps around it, forming a trellis for plants to climb. Its vertical fenestration and French doors take cues from the original structure, while its filigree design elements and high-quality materials ensure that old and new form a harmonious whole.