The proposal for the redesign of the former Electrolux site near Aarau train station clarifies and strengthens the identity of this area. Through its positioning on the street the new headquarters of Swissgrid plays the key role. Anchoring the apartment building at the rear of the site establishes a distance to the office building while also creating a sense of closeness to the existing housing.
The site extends across the southern part of Aarau train station precinct. The central aspect of the task was to design a forward-looking new headquarters for Swissgrid, the grid operator, while the remainder of the site was to be used for separately accessed housing blocks.
The morphology of the place is defined by long building volumes with upright proportions. Through its clear positioning in the urban system the new headquarters of Swissgrid plays a key role on the site. It has a flexible spatial concept, with a layout of rooms that can be varied and mobile workstations. The floorplans are mostly organised as “open space” and open plan offices, allowing the spatial structures to be easily changed.
Special mention should be made of the stringent security regulations and of the fact that each room had to be allocated to a specific security zone – free access, limited access, or accessible to just a few people (e.g., the computer centre or the security check).
The new apartment building is anchored at the back of the site, which deliberately creates a distance to the office building and, at the same time, closeness to the existing housing. The floor plans are based on a clear basic structure that allows a wide range of apartment types and sizes.
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