Käferstein & Meister
Zürich, Switzerland
Project Year
Martina Meier


Käferstein & Meister as Architects

The urban apartment house that was built in 1978 for a doctor consisted of a maisonette in the upper two floors and two separate smaller appartments in the first and second floor. The client aimed to convert the structure into rental appartments for an clientele with affinity for urban living in a central part of the city. The maisonette appartement with atrium in the last two floors was meant to be equipped in the highest standard whereas the lower appartments should serve as pied à terre for modern urban nomads.

With breaking out the existing swimming pool and several openings in the courtyard facade as well as in the adjacent courtyard building itself, two-side oriented appartments could be created. Central entrance rooms meet with the structural logic of the four inner concrete posts and divide the appartments into three zones. Kitchen and dining areas are oriented towards the street, bedrooms against the calm courtyard. Representative double doors enable generous views through the whole depth of the building. Walk-throug closets, bathrooms and secondary spaces are aligned along the firewall and connected room by room. This enfilade allows a secondary circulation of private character, which appears to enlarge the compact floor plans.

The central configuration of the maisonette appartment was kept and completed with a lateral setting of three new bedrooms with private walk-in closets and bathrooms. The double height atrium is to be opened fully with a sliding glass roof that generates an exterior courtyard, which is accentuated with a wooden finish. The cabinet makers work is manufacatured with massiv ash planks and incorporates an inner stairway and a balustrade, which opens a second circulation to and between the bedrooms in the upper level. Inner wooden shutters and windows allow to modulate the interior views and the light setting.

The existing travertin floors were supplemented and, in the central atrium, layed out in a more delicate pattern. A coiled wooden stair leads to the private roof terrace. The maisonette is also accessed with a private lift. The existing gas heating connects to new integrated heating in the anhydrite floors that guarantee for contemporary sound insulation between the appartments. All windows have been replaced in order to comply with the required acoustic and thermal values. On the street facade, the existing rendering could be repaired whereas the courtyard facade was developed entirely new with a colour concept that articulates the impression of two urban levels

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