Extension of Workshop School Buildings Appisberg

The new extension of the “Appisberg Apprenticeship and Training Complex” comprises of a string of individual volumes along an access road, which is within the complex opposite the existing 1930s buildings by architects Pestalozzi and Schucan. This concept of sequence was defined through the position of the existing buildings. In keeping with the original open space concept initiated by the Mertens brothers, the centre of the complex remains undeveloped in the form of a vast open space which extends to the east, merging with the open landscape.

As the building volumes are aligned longitudinally concurrent towards the view, the panorama over lake and mountains is accentuated and left clear. With respect to their proportions, the new structures refer to those of the existing.

Both interaction and rhythm are generated through the spatial organisation of the new volumes in their relationship to the existing buildings. Subtle differences in the dimensions and form of the individual structures enrich the interplay. The greenhouse with its contrasting materiality signals the border of the site and the transition to the open landscape.

With the exception of the greenhouse, the remaining buildings are mainly constructed from in-situ concrete. The floor and ceiling slabs are supported by the load-bearing exterior walls and the structural service core. The robust materiality of the exterior walls and windows are to meet the high durability requirements of the workshops and educational training buildings.

Within the existing complex two colour tones are particularly predominant. The orange of the historic buildings contrasts to the various green hues of the surroundings: the dark green of the forest, the luscious green of the meadows, the yellow-green of the surrounding fields and the pale green of the distant hills.

The yellow-green tone of the new buildings adopts the colours of its environment. The bright intensity of the colour is achieved with a translucent finish. Despite multiple coatings the materiality of the concrete is still visible so that at close range a subtle colour play of green and yellow tones is discernible. Depending on the weather, light conditions and seasons, the volumes appear differently; they work in harmony with the natural surroundings or form a contrast to it.

Location Männedorf, Switzerland

Programme Extension of existing facility with four new buildings: Workshops, offices, greenhouse; Renewal of existing: workshop, administration/catering, accommodation

Competition 1998, 1st Prize

Planning/Construction 1999–2002

Client Gemeinnütziger Verein Appisberg, Abklärungs- und Ausbildungsstätte, Männedorf

Gross Floor Area 3‘611 m2

Team G/G Planning/Construction: Markus Lüscher (Project Manager), Mathias Brühlmann
Competition: Markus Lüscher, Simone Reiter

Site Management Caretta Weidmann Baumanagement AG, Zurich

Landscape Architecture Zulauf Seippel Schweingruber, Landschaftsarchitekten, Baden

Colours Harald F. Müller, Öhningen, Germany

Photos © Heinrich Helfenstein
© Harald F. Müller