Location Zürich (CH)
Dates Construction 1937 - Renovation 2020-2023
Status Project completed
Photo credits Philipp Obkircher
Project team Salomé Wackernagel, Stefan Ganz, Ganz Installationen AG, Miniti GmbH, Loosli Küchen AG, BM Belagsmanufaktur GmbH
This modest apartment building in Zurich's quiet Wollishofen district was built in 1937 to accommodate six simple family units, comprising a large living room and bedroom of identical dimensions, a kitchen opening onto the shared garden, a small bathroom and a toilet adjoining the kitchen, ventilated by a for the time innovative mechanical ventilation system. In the basement, the building includes a shared washing machine and drying room with blower, as well as a space rented out to a therapy center. Initially built for the working-class population who came to occupy the outskirts of the city in the midst of an industrial boom, these small-scale dwellings are now proving to be totally in tune with an urban lifestyle, the search for individual housing and the splitting up of nuclear family units. These homes are very much appreciated by their current residents, who value the layout of the interior spaces, the urban qualities of this district designed as an island of greenery in the heart of the city, as well as the particularly affordable rental price compared to market prices in the greater Zurich area.
The electrical and sanitary installations were extremely outdated and have been completely renovated, including minimal remodeling of the spaces. The chromatic composition of the tiles underlines the intervention, while reducing renovation costs to the bare essentials and respecting the period of construction and the context of the architecture. In this respect, the original substance is preserved, without ignoring the authentic character of the buildings, but on the contrary reinforcing it. The qualitative transformation of the spaces plays with modernist concepts: geometric compositions, original elements and chromatic associations, creating a timeless and colorful architecture that enhances the value of the original construction.