Fischer Architekten: Conversion Octavo II  - best architects 23

Fischer Architekten

Conversion Octavo II

best architects 23

renovation and addition


Zurich, Switzerland


Gerry Amstutz


The central building in a development dating from 2004 is a rigid column-slab structure with two circulation cores. The task set in the competition included a necessary renovation of the façade and the integration of forms of housing in a basic structure that was not, in fact, designed for this purpose. In dealing with this challenge the two circulation cores are left where and how they are. They divide the conversion into three parts: The two ends with staircases, each positioned on a street, are high points that form addresses and have apartments of the same kind on all floors. On the upper floors, the central part of the building is reached from an internal access deck on the north side. On the ground floor there are potential studio apartments entered directly from the street, while the maisonette apartments on the third and fourth floors form a recessed rooftop level. Loggias articulate the façade and provide a protected outdoor space for every apartment. The simple but harmonious materialisation preserves the character of the former office building. Glass blocks and cast floors suit the place and its history. In the façade, the basic concept of different treatment according to orientation to the public space is preserved. A new complementary colour scheme distinguishes the building from its neighbours. Through its playful horizontal and vertical lines, the combed finish of the very coarse modelling render animates the grey-green representative façade.