bob gysin partner
Elisabethenstrasse public housing
best architects 24
renovation and addition
The seven-storey apartment building in Zurich Wiedikon, dating from 1896, was renovated and extended with the aim of maintaining affordable urban living space. Challenging conditions such as the listed building fabric, the small number of flats and the need to keep renovation costs low were met with careful and minimal interventions. A self-supporting bay window and loggia construction extends the kitchens on the courtyard side into a kitchen-living room, so that the remaining four rooms can be used individually. In order to preserve the interior qualities of the building, the living spaces were left largely unchanged or restored to their original condition. Only the sanitary facilities and kitchens were extensively renovated and now fit into the existing building as an «inlay». The hinged or sliding doors that enclose this «inlay» provide a high degree of flexibility for the limited space. The street façade was preserved as far as possible and upgraded where necessary. The atmosphere of the flats is characterised by the interplay between the minimalist form and materials of the new elements and the formal language of the Wilhelminian heritage building. The strong green and red tones of the existing façades were picked up in the carpentry elements and the surfaces in the kitchen and bathroom. The patina on the historical surfaces in the staircase and on the parquet flooring remains intentionally visible and tangible.