Hohl schoolhouse, Zurich

SchulhauUmbau Schulhaus Hohl, Zürich, Fischer Architekten AG Zürichs Hohl, Zürich

As only an extremely limited budget was available for the renovation of Hohl schoolhouse in Zurich the interventions had to be carefully concentrated. The challenge lay in reduction to the essential. The path led via a precise examination of the existing building.

The Hohl schoolhouse, which was erected towards the end of the 19th century, lies in the lively Zurich district of Aussersihl with its numerous block perimeter buildings. Together with the surrounding school buildings it forms an ensemble that is grouped around a bakery complex. Its present-day appearance is clearly structured, the classic order and tectonic composition of the building envelope have a timeless quality. However, the building’s value was much reduced by the badly worn surface finishes.

Within the framework of the renovation, the aim was to emphasises the building’s architectural qualities and to renovate the services in a way that would ensure that the building could operate trouble-free. The maintenance measures were to be geared for the next ten years or the coming period of use.

The budget, which was strictly limited from the start, meant that the interventions had to be concentrated. As Ludwig Mies van der Rohe once said: “the essential should be distilled – and I see that as the real art of architecture”. In this case the surface finishes were renovated, and the building services modernised.

Hohlstrasse 68, 8004 Zurich, Switzerland
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Task Renovation of a school building
Job type Consultant selection procedure
Deliverables Project, tender, implementation project, construction management
Time period 2008–2010
Challenge Dealing with historic building fabric, strictly limited budget