The renovation of an apartment house from the late nineteenth century combines the charm of the era in which it was built with a response to the needs of the present, as a result creating contemporary urban apartments.
The apartment house in Zurich’s Kreis 3 municipal district was erected towards the end of the nineteenth century along with the two neighbouring houses by German architect Norman Braun. The ensemble is part of a block perimeter development that has been survived entirely and is included in the City of Zurich’s inventory of buildings that are deemed worthy of protection.
The first fundamental restoration had to integrate criteria defined by the conservation authorities and to make the apartments “suitable for the market” again. Their original charm and architectural expression were to be retained, which made a thorough analysis of the intervention necessary.
On the ground and first floor the structure of the floor plans remained unchanged, from the second to the fourth floor they were carefully adapted to meet new needs. On those levels a large apartment replaced two existing units, allowing contemporary apartment sizes to be offered. The introduction of an enfilade creates new visual relationships. By converting the attic two maisonette apartments with accessible roof terraces were made. The gently renovated facade was finished in a colour that it may, conceivably, have had originally.
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