Sumit Singhal loves modern architecture. He comes from a family of builders who have built more than 20 projects in the last ten years near Delhi in India. He has recently started writing about the architectural projects that catch his imagination.
Renovation Extension, conversion of the former restaurant Metzger Hall in Dielsdorf, Switzerland by L3P Architects
January 6th, 2012 by Sumit Singhal
Article source: L3P Architects
Renovation / extension, conversion of the former restaurant Metzger Hall, Dielsdorf apartment house with 3 newly constructed apartments, 5 renovated apartments, 1 commercial area Construction time beginning 2009 – April 2010, first use May 2010.
The project is located in the village of Dielsdorf in the Zurich Lowlands. The building project in the central district of the village and is located directly on Wehntalerstrasse, the main street, which leads to Zurich. Formerly a restaurant, a butcher’s shop and abattoir were found in the building at Mühlestrasse 1. Today, it is known as the Metzger (Butcher’s) Hall restaurant. The restaurant with kitchen and the employees’ rooms were found in the main house. The abattoir was located in the older extension to the west and the butcher’s shop was to the south. The outer space was used for park places.
The building constructor appointed the architect to realise attractive living space for rented apartments at this location. Diverse variations were considered, e.g. the demolition of the 150-year-old property with the construction of a complete new building, or the preservation of the property with a corresponding extension of the building.
From the drafting process, it soon became clear that the main building must be preserved, helping to conserved the existing townscape. On the contrary, it was decided to demolish the younger additions to the property. The building fabric was very poor and it became clear that the main house needed to be totally renovated only keeping few historical details and components. Through the new compact extension, more space for the outer rooms would be created. To realise an attractive, generous living room and outdoor space on the Wehntalerstrasse, which is a very busy and traffic-intensive street, it was decided to create a space to the south side of the property, which would be divided into privately and collectively used courtyards.
From an architectural view the extension, with its form and materials, should be truly distinguishable from the main building. Through this, the tradition of an added restaurant could be continued in a contemporary form. Due to the simple volume and natural materials of the new extension, there is no rivalry between the added extension and main house, but rather a fascinating contradiction and an ensemble in which new and old stay clearly distinguishable from each other, but still present as an entity.
The existing Metzger Hall and the new extension are accessible over three stories through a common staircase. A commercial space for diverse utilization that is lighter and located at the most central position is found in the former restaurant. A 2½ room maisonette apartment is accessible from the ground floor. 2½ room apartments are also found in the upper first and second floors. In the new extension a 4½ room apartment with a generous courtyard is found on each of the floors.
The main house has barely changed externally: the facade was cleaned and repaired, the window reveal filled up and the under side of the roof newly painted. The distinctive changes took place internally: in-depth structural alterations, as well as alterations in the stratification of the house allowed apartments to be created which have sufficient noise insulation and low energy consumption standards. Every entity has individually-controlled ventilation and all windows – with the original grid partitions – were replaced.
The plain, powerful materialisation lends the living spaces a simplicity that combines the presence with history. This is reflected in the commercial space through a sanded concrete floor. The coverage area is seen with an industrial floor and the new staircase is a raw concrete construction. Taut cables between the floors serve as a banister for the stairwell.
The apartments in the new building all have a light anhydrite floor, exposed concrete ceilings and white walls. A contemporary fresh coat is delivered in the attic apartments of the old building through the historical window dimensions, bright yellow-green kitchen combination and the coarse chipboard cladding of the internal roof slopes. The grand ceiling height of 2.75 metres and up to five metres under the roof caters for a feeling of airy generosity.
The lively interplay of the wooden facade also moulds the larger entities in the new extension internally. The standing spruce slats of the outer skin are arranged spontaneously in five different widths with in no discernable pattern, likewise the irregularity of the window format. They vary in width between slender, vertical room-high slits. They are protected from outside with shutters, which integrate seamlessly in the pattern of the façade slats and which can be locked with simple hooks, like a stall door. Thus, the annex is a wooden-cladded cube in the closed state, only with open shutters is the structure of the building readable.
The new extension building apartments are organised around a continuous central concrete core that is painted in a warm gold brown. This core absorbs all the service rooms from the individual apartments; showers, laundries and utility rooms. The open-plan living/dining area on the south-west side and two to three rooms to the south and north are arranged around this core. Individual outside space is allotted to each apartment; the attic apartment has two balconies superimposed over each other. Thus, the most important elements of contemporary living are given: noise protected individual outside space and a generous succession of rooms.
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