Location Zürich (CH)
Dates Construction 1938 - Renovation 2018-2020
Surface 18 apartments · 58 - 74m2
Status Project completed
Photo credits Philipp Obkircher
Project team Salomé Wackernagel, Stefan Ganz (Ganz Installationen AG), MK Bauleitungen, Miniti GmbH, Loosli Küchen AG, Arte della Casa Bautechnik GmbH
This building from 1938 houses 18 living units in the Hanfrose street in Zurich. The house is located in a central area of Zurich which was part of a large construction programm in the late 30's, following the social modernist principles of small but affordable flats providing all the modern comfort. Nowadays, a lot of these low-rise, modest buildings are progressively replaced by larger construction programms.
The idea was here to preserve the initial construction which has real urbanistic and living qualities for modern, urban dwellers living in small family constellations. In Zurich, as well as in many other European cities, the modernist architecture isn't considered historic and many times this kind of rational dwellings are simply selled and demolished to build higher - and therefore more rentable objects.
As the house has almost not been touched since its construction, a full renovation of the wet rooms, plumbing, electricity and heating system was necessary. The actual renters could stay in their flats during the work period and the rental prices stay below market prices after the renovation. The main principle of this renovation in invisible, as it consists of respecting the living souls, avoid demolition, keep the existing qualities as its maximum: shared spaces (laundry room, garden), a vegetation that grew with the building itself. The clients were convinced to preserve the house with a qualitative design playing with the aesthetic line of the 1930's - geometric compositions, original furniture and colourful combinations.
The polychromatic concept outlines the three different flat typologies, and the function of each space: garnet red for the kitchens and Klein blue for the bathrooms of the three-rooms flats, pale green for the bathrooms and Klein blue for the kitchen of the one-room flats, mint green for the kitchens and flesh pink for the bathrooms of the two-rooms flats. This focus on colours allows to propose a smart and attractive design while remaining within the budget constraints and in a form of modesty in the execution.
In 2020, the stairway has also been renewed with new coloured doors, also fitting into the Bauhaus spirit of this simple but beautiful architecture.