Würth Haus Rorschach

A greenish crystalline building responds to the unusual location of the site, set between the edge of Lake Constance and Churerstrasse. Walkers and passers-by experience a glass structure that oscillates between transparency and shiny reflective surfaces that multiply the natural beauty of the setting. The architecture affords views out to the surroundings, glimpses into the building, and sightlines through it to the park and lake.

The interior offers staff and visitors generously proportioned sequences of rooms - workspaces, communication areas, and leisure zones - as well as providing space for product presentations and art exhibitions. The structure responds to the train station building with lower volumes and reacts to the expanses of the park and lake with a higher segment. There are plans to add an extension on the eastern side in a future phase of construction. Toward the street, the volumes give shape to a range of external spaces through precisely defined projections and setbacks: in the middle is the entrance area, to the east the vehicle access and workshop zone, and to the west Bahnhofsplatz, the station square, which is expanded toward the lake. Maple trees set in a perpendicular configuration characterize this space, and also continue as rows along Churerstrasse.

Approaching from the station, a broad canopy signals the main entrance. The various user groups - visitors, people attending courses, and company staff - enter the building through a large lobby and are guided from this point to the different parts of the building. On the ground floor and first floor, the public functions - training and conference rooms, as well as the restaurant - are grouped around a foyer with an open courtyard in the center and are linked by a sweeping stairway. Both the conference area and the separate exhibition spaces can be accessed directly from the exterior, allowing the option of using these areas independently from the rest of the building. The exhibition area guides visitors from the entrance to two different-sized exhibition rooms, which are located on the first floor of the southern part of the building and are naturally lit from above. The structure of the shed skylight over the exhibition spaces simultaneously supports the enormous projecting canopy over the entrance. Office space extends over four stories in the highest part of the building, which is not open to the general public. Informal meeting areas with balconies facing the lake, transparent or closed-off meeting rooms, and individual offices alternate here with open-plan office areas.

A double glass envelope encases the building. The inner layer is made up of triple glazing and metal-clad thermal insulation. The external, back-ventilated layer is composed of offset greenish glass panes equipped with a fine mesh insert with a metallic luster. This creates a rhythmically articulated glass curtain that provides protection against wind from the lake and noise from the street and also against excessive heat and cold. The predominance of glass in the building materials is continued on the roof in the form of CIS photovoltaic panels.

Location Rorschach, Switzerland

Programme Administration Building with Training and Conference Centre, 630-seat auditorium, museum, restaurant, cafeteria, hardware-shop, workshops

Competition 2009, 1st Prize

Planning/Construction 2009–2013

Client Würth International AG, Chur
Owner's representative: Walter Dietsche Baumanagement AG, Chur

Gross Floor Area 32'200 m2

Team G/G Planning/Construction: Christian Maggioni (Team Manager), Matthias Clivio (Project Manager), Nicolai Rünzi, Christoph Lay, Katja Fröhlich, Rus Carnicero, Yvonne Grunwald, Martin Schneider, Michael Kloiber, Brigitte Rüdel, Franziska Bächer
Competition: Luisa Wittgen, Nicolai Rünzi, Bettina Gerhold, Thomas Möckel, Matthias Clivio

Site Management Walter Dietsche Baumanagement AG, Chur

Landscape Architecture Atelier Girot, Gockhausen

Structural Engineer Dr. Lüchinger Meyer Bauingenieure AG, Zurich

Electrical Engineer Bühler + Scherler AG, St.Gallen

Building Services Engineer Waldhauser Haustechnik AG, Basel

Building Physics Engineer Kopitsis Bauphysik AG, Wohlen

Fire Safety Makiol + Wiederkehr, Beinwil am See

MSRL Boxler MSRL Engineering, Jona

Ventilation Engineer Waldhauser Haustechnik AG, Basel

Acoustical Engineer Müller-BBM GmbH, Planegg, Germany

Daylighting Consultant Institut für Tageslichttechnik Stuttgart, Germany

Lighting Consultant Licht Zentrale, Nürnberg, Germany

Plumbing Tomaschett + Cioce AG, Rorschach

Facade Reba Fassadentechnik AG, Chur

Signage Trix Wetter, Zurich

Colours (partial) Harald F. Müller, Oehningen, Germany

Photos © Thies Wachter
© Shinkenchiku-sha, Tokyo

Address Churerstrasse 10, CH – 9400 Rorschach

Residential and Retail Building

The Dutch town of Almere is not a place that has grown successively, but was planned on a drawing board, originating after the war as polder land reclaimed from the Ijsselmeer Lake. The masterplan for the new, enlarged town center was developed by the OMA architecture studio. A striking characteristic of this city center area is an artificially raised, curved slab (‘Gebogen Maaiveld’), which connects the existing retail center with the Weerwater Lake as a new pedestrian level. Underneath this floor slab is an area for local east-west vehicular traffic, as well as for deliveries, parking, and buses. The new residential and retail building is situated at the highest point of the curved slab, where access roads lead to the ‘underworld’ of services and infrastructure.

The masterplan envisioned the combined residential and retail structure to be a high and very deep building volume with a footprint measuring 27×55 meters. With a trapezoidal floor plan that bends inward on both sides, it was possible to achieve the maximum possible amount of natural light for the residential spaces within the given perimeter. The volume does not rise up in a straight vertical line, but inclines toward the south and east while broadening as it ascends.

On the ground and first floors the retail areas are occupied by the Hema department store chain, with the second floor used as storage space. Both basement levels serve as a parking garage. Originally conceived as condominiums, a total of 72 apartments are now offered for rental over eight floors. As a result of the expansion of the building volume toward the top, larger, south-facing apartments can be offered on the higher, more desirable floors. The floor plans are largely derived from the tunnel formwork technique commonly used in the Netherlands.

On the residential floors the building form is defined by the bands of glazed balcony parapets. In plan the glazed façade of each apartment describes an obtuse angle, thereby forming triangular balcony spaces as well as providing privacy from the neighboring balconies. The jagged shape of the floor plan repeats to a lesser extent the principle followed by the greater building volume of maximizing surface area and natural light.

The façade is wrapped entirely in glass: color-enameled glazing is employed for the cladding of the ground floor, while the parapets of the apartment balconies consist of safety glass laminated with colored film. The residential areas have floor-to-ceiling windows to maximize natural light. The color concept for the building’s façades was developed in collaboration with the artist Adrian Schiess: orange for the corners facing the south and east, light green toward the pedestrian area, light blue facing north, and finally, highly reflective silver for half of the two longest, angled façades toward the north and south. The inward- and outwardslanting glazed surfaces reflect the sky and surroundings, while the obtuse-angled surfaces additionally reflect the building itself as well as the nearby exterior spaces. The immediate surroundings thus play an integral part in how the building is perceived.

Location Almere, The Netherlands

Programme Eight-storey residential and commercial building: 72 rental apartments (70–145 m2), ground floor and 1st floor: 2'700 m2 retail space, restaurant, office, storage spaces, underground parking

Competition 2002

Planning/Construction 2002–2007

Client Blauwhoed Eurowoningen, Rotterdam, The Netherlands

Gross Floor Area 14‘700 m2

Team G/G Construction: Pieter Rabijns
Tender Documentation: Volker Mencke
Preliminary/Building Project: Christof Bhend

Contact architects B + M, Den Haag, The Netherlands

Site Management Blauwhoed Eurowoningen, Rotterdam, The Netherlands

General Contractor J.P. van Eesteren bv, Barendrecht, The Netherlands

Structural Engineer ABT bv, Arnheim, The Netherlands

Building Services Engineer Huygen Elwako bv, Rotterdam, The Netherlands

Building Physics Engineer Huygen Elwako bv, Rotterdam, The Netherlands

Colours Adrian Schiess, Zurich and Mouans-Sartoux, France

Photos © Jeroen Musch

Railway Station Baar with shops, offices and apartments

Location Baar, Switzerland

Programme Construction of a mixed use development on the railway site: Railway infrastructure, retail space, offices, apartments, underground parking

Competition 2004, 1st Prize

Planning/Construction 2004–2008

Client Total Complex: Migros-Pensionskasse, Zurich
Public Square: Municipality Baar
Railway Infrastructure: SBB Swiss Railways, Lucerne

Gross Floor Area 6`500 m2 (above ground)

Team G/G Planning/Construction: Pit Brunner (Team- and Project Manager), Mathias Brühlmann, Alex Zeller, Ingo Brinkmann
Competition: Mathias Brühlmann, Ulrike Horn

Total Contractor Halter Generalunternehmung AG, Zurich

Landscape Architecture Vetsch Nipkow Partner, Landschaftsarchitekten AG, Zurich

Structural Engineer ARP André Rotzetter + Partner AG, Baar

Electrical Engineer Mosimann & Partner AG, Affoltern am Albis

Building Services Engineer Hans Abicht AG, Zug

Building Physics Engineer Wichser Akustik & Bauphysik AG, Zurich

Signage Peter Spalinger, Atelier für Gestaltung, Bremgarten

Colours Adrian Schiess, Zurich and Mouans-Sartoux, France

Photos © Lucas Peters

Awards Auszeichnung guter Bauten im Kanton Zug 2006–2015, Anerkennung

Löwenbräu-Areal – Arts Centre, Residential Tower and Office Building

The history of the Löwenbräu complex, a former brewery, is one of frequent remodeling, adding on, and replacing parts of the existing buildings, whereby the change of use from a brewery to an art exhibition and gallery complex in the 1990s marked the crucial turning point. The new project is based on this most recent, successful conversion, while enhancing the variety of uses for this complex with new residential, office, and exhibition spaces. The preservation of the original historical building is an important step toward maintaining the identity of the former industrial district, rendering an important chapter in the city’s history visible.

The concept for urban development here focuses on three structural changes in the form of new buildings within the existing complex: the New West Building, to offer additional space for the arts, the New East Office Building, and the Central High-Rise Residential Building. Together with the steel tower and the Swiss Mill silos, the high-rise residential building redefines the site’s silhouette and—to a certain extent—even that of the city.
By adding buildings to the existing complex, a new urban ensemble can evolve—with the Central High-Rise Residential Building forming the focal point. The elongated, older structures with the former main brewery building on Limmatstrasse are framed by the addition of a further level on top of the Arts Center in the west and by the taller New East Office Building at the opposite end near the railway viaduct.
The new Löwenbräu complex is now to be seen not just from the street and from a distance, but also from its two courtyards. The former Brewer’s Yard - a listed historical site - provides access to the surrounding buildings as well as being a traffic-free outside space for relaxation. The new entrance to the art institutions is located in the open Art Courtyard, which also includes parking spaces for visitors and a delivery entrance.
Together with the entrance area to the art section and the additional story at this end of the complex, the New West Building projects at right angles and adjoins the former workshops on the courtyard side. It includes art exhibition rooms, guest accommodations, and offices. The exhibition spaces and a multi-function room can be partitioned as required. They are lit by side windows and are accessed directly from the entrance area to the art section. This entrance area has been conceived as a new, generously proportioned foyer with a staircase and elevators. The staircase is directly accessible from the lobby, which can be entered from Limmatstrasse or the courtyard.
The Central High-Rise Residential Building, with its large projection to the south, houses 37 apartments, one to four on each floor, which all face in several directions, affording views of the city, the lake, and the Limmat valley. The main volume of the high-rise is cantilevered out over a narrower base set in the Brewer’s Yard. The 21 apartments in the base face southward onto the quiet courtyard. Service facilities are housed on the ground floor, in addition to a passageway between the two courtyards and the lobbies.
The New East Office Building is also an angled structure with a higher section on Limmatstrasse and a lower segment between Dammweg and the Brewer’s Yard. On the ground floor, the entrance lobby to the offices is located under the projection, whereas the gallery and retail spaces are accessed via the courtyard. The varied widths of the rooms on the upper office floors enable them to be adapted to suit a range of different office constellations. The façades of the Central High-Rise Residential Building and the New East Office Building are clad in molded ceramic elements with black and red glazed finishes that refer to the colored brickwork of the existing buildings. Double aluminum windows with additional ventilation slits consist of an external pane of plain glass and an inner pane of insulation glass with blinds in between. Turn-and-tilt-lift windows, custom-designed for the tower, can slide all the way up to the ceiling to invite the outdoors inside on a sunny day.
The tower rises up above the row of various old and new buildings along Limmatstrasse as a dark, shimmering volume. The walls form grid patterns whose ceramic surfaces stand out from or merge with the window areas depending on the light, presenting a changing face to the city.
The red New East Office Building picks up on the fundamental character of the old buildings not only with regard to the materials used, but also in its coloration. The wavy structure, the gleaming materials, and the alignment of the windows, however, anchor the building firmly in the present.
The New West Building has been designed as a homogeneous, white concrete structure, insulated on the inside. The art spaces are equipped with box windows. While the new and old sections of this building are interwoven closely here in terms of their volumes and use, the material finish chosen for the addition sets it apart from the existing structure. A new ensemble is created that enables the expansive dimensions of the new volume to be clearly read and signals the presence of the arts within the complex.

Location Zurich, Switzerland

Programme Conversion and extension of a former, partly listed brewery; museums, galleries, event hall, studios, shop areas, 58 apartments 2.5–5.5 rooms (21 courtyard apartments, 37 tower apartments), new office building, storage areas, underground parking

Competition 2003, two ex aequo 1st Prizes: Gigon/Guyer and Atelier WW Architekten

Planning/Construction 2005–2014

Client PSP Properties AG

Gross Floor Area 48‘328 m2

Team G/G Collaborators Competition:
Gigon/Guyer: Volker Mencke
Atelier WW: Martin Danz
Mitarbeit Gigon/Guyer:
Volker Mencke (Planning-/ Team Manager), Bettina Gerhold, Daniel Friedmann, Reto Killer, Kathrin Sindelar, Damien Andenmatten, Yvonne Grunwald, Alex Zeller, Pieter Rabijns

Total Contractor Steiner AG, Zurich

Landscape Architecture Schweingruber Zulauf Landschaftsarchitekten, Zurich

Structural Engineer Consortium Dr. Lüchinger + Meyer Bauingenieure AG, Zurich Henauer Gugler AG, Zurich

Electrical Engineer Planning/Submission: Schneider Engineering + Partner Zürich AG, Zurich
Execution: Mosimann & Partner, Zurich; Schmidiger + Rosasco, Zurich

Building Services Engineer Gruenberg + Partner AG, Zurich

Building Physics Engineer braune roth ag, Binz

Fire Safety Makiol + Wiederkehr Dipl. Holzbau-Ingenieure HTL/SISH Beinwil am See

Facade Planning/Submission: gkp fassadentechnik ag, Aadorf
Execution: Josef Gartner GmbH, Gundelfingen

Signage Integral Ruedi Baur, Zurich
Remodeling Entrance: Teo Schifferli, Zurich
Signito, Zurich

Colours Harald F. Müller, Öhningen, Germany

Photos Löwenbräukunst, Remodeling Entrance: © Roman Keller
© Thies Wachter
© Shinkenchiku-sha, Tokyo
Kunsthalle Zürich exhibitions: © Stefan Altenburger Photography
Luma Westbau Schwarzescafé: with kind permission Luma Westbau | Luma Stiftung © Stefan Altenburger
Courtyard apartment: © Laura Egger
© Christian Scholz
Construction site: © Thomas Zwyssig

Arts Centre

Residential high-rise

Brewery Main Building

New Office Building East