Carefully considered renovation and conversion measures have revealed again the original qualities of an apartment building dating from the 1920s in the Zurich district of Oberstrasse. Despite the sensitive building structure, by means of carefully focussed interventions it proved possible to adapt the apartments to meet present-day demands.
This apartment building stands at a privileged, sunny location on the steeply sloping Haldenbachstrasse in Zurich’s Kreis 6. Built at the end of the 1920s, with its classic articulation into base, central section, and roof this building is typical of its epoch. The architectural qualities and comparatively good condition of the building fabric led the client to opt to renovate the existing building rather than replacing it with a new one.
The staircase in the building serves two apartments on each floor. In all there are four three-room and four four-room apartments. On the courtyard facade the almost axially symmetrical layout is interrupted by a projecting bay at one side with attached balconies, while in the western half of the building the outdoor spaces for the flats take the form of slightly projecting loggias. Thanks to a subtly balanced colour concept the gentle renovation of the envelope preserves the building’s harmonious expression.
The most noticeable intervention in the interior affected the wet rooms and the kitchens, which were completely replaced, and their position swapped. An open living room cum kitchen now forms the centre of each apartment. The small kitchen loggias were walled up and the space was integrated in the interior, a new large window was made that provides more daylight. The new flooring of octagonal ceramic tiles with dark specks that connects entrance area, kitchen, and bathroom indicates the interventions, while also referring to the era when the building was erected.
In contrast to the old kitchens and bathrooms, the existing main rooms met current demands in terms of size, layout, and materials. High-quality herringbone parquet flooring and enfilades with large glazed doors are characteristic of middle-class housing in the first half of the previous century. In these rooms the interventions were restricted to carefully revealing the existing fabric. The staircase hall was renovated, and a lift was added.
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