Residential buildings with 56 apartments for senior citizens,
as well as a medical practice and residential care group.
Foundation for senior citizens in Adliswil
Competition 2007, First prize
Completion 2009 – 2011
The starting point of this project’s urban approach lies in the spatial perception of the existing urban fabric in which it is located, and the weaknesses therein: seemingly interchangeable places, loss of identity, sprawl.
By concentrating the built mass in the east of the site it was possible to create a strong connection not only between the two buildings themselves but also between them and their context. The vertical space between the two buildings is unusual in this type of built context – it would be more expected in an urban environment. The result of this local densification is that two green spaces are created: one towards the street, and one large, park-like open space towards the west. These open spaces are particularly crucial for assisted living, as nearby recreation spaces increase in importance with increased age and possibly decreased mobility. The new park-like open space creates places for meeting, for different activities, places with plenty of sun and different views to the west.
The concept guiding the formation of external spaces – differently defined areas that enable relaxed social exchange – is carried through to the interior of the building. An interlinked network of routes with different ‘narrowings’ (stairs) and ‘widenings’ (foyers, recreation rooms) runs into and through the buildings. Urban townhouses from the 20th century, come upon by chance in Paris, Milan and Zurich, acted as references to aid the definition of a spatial approach and the choice of materials based on their haptic qualities.
A sequential approach to spatial organisation resulted in a simple floorplan typology, where the entrance hall is placed in the centre of the apartment. Based on this typology, the floorplans were developed according to their individual locations, in order to respond to their unique contexts and orientations. In this way many individual apartments were created, corresponding to many different needs.
Many windows were specifically placed lower down to ensure that residents who are possibly confined to their beds for longer periods of time do not lose their visual link with their surroundings and are still able to take part in the goings-on in the surrounding context and on the street.
The facade frees itself from the modernist axiom of being inextricably linked with function. Thanks to their varied placement in the interior the windows project the individuality of the interior spaces onto the facade and generate an abstract external appearance. A surprising play of scales develops which strengthens both personal identification with the building and its recognisability.
Conventional roofing tiles give the facade depth and a further layer of definition, integrating the windows into the pattern created by the joints between tiles.