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Transformation & Renovation

Conversion of School Building into Residential Development Mellingerstrasse, Baden

The construction of the school building in Baden was completed in 2013. Less than three years later, the tenant, an international private school, moved out, leaving the many classrooms, assembly hall, canteen, library and staff and student lounge areas empty. After in-depth studies, the owner gave Burckhardt+Partner the task of planning the building’s redevelopment based on mixed residential and commercial usage. The architectural office produced plans for 39 new apartments with between 1.5 and 3.5 rooms, as well as new commercial units on the first and second floors with external access.

The aim was to create the greatest possible sense of modern urban living in minimized residential spaces. This was achieved with a ceiling height of 2.7 meters, room-height windows with views over the surrounding streets and local area and spaces that can be flexibly partitioned. The windows enhance the development’s appearance, ensuring it blends well into its urban setting. They frame the view of the surrounding area, almost making it part of the room.

The tie rods from the existing building had to be left and were incorporated into the new apartments as a distinctive design feature. As well as the addition of recessed balconies and direct access points to the communal terrace, generous room dimensions were also created.

The central laundry concept produced additional space for the apartments. Washing machines and tumble dryers lined up in a row, which can be assigned to each apartment, were installed in the school’s former wet rooms on each floor. The removal of two existing staircases also resulted in more living space.

A flexible and creative approach to the existing building produced a new residential development that meets all the requirements of modern living.

The building was stripped back to its shell internally. The overall supporting structure, the core of the building and the lift were retained while two staircases were removed. Much less work was required on the façade for the recessed balconies and the French windows which give the residential development a fresh new look.

The building has a bridge-like character – standing over a railway tunnel and a filling station, the basement level of the original building. This presented both technical and design challenges. The existing lightweight steel structure could not be modified or replaced by an additional heavyweight one, but the high-strength diagonal tie rods were retained and integrated into the new rooms. The conversion was challenging with regard to fire protection requirements, but plasterboard provided a solution for covering the steel structure. The building technology was also upgraded to meet modern standards by removing radiators and installing underfloor heating and new controlled apartment ventilation systems.

Client
Swisscanto (CH) Real Estate Fund Swiss Commercial, Zurich

Period of time
2017-2019

Task
Architecture, general planning

Photographer
René Dürr