FORMER SOUP-BOTTLING AND CRATE-NAILING PLANT KEMPTTHAL
Ernst Niklaus Fausch Partner AG constructed 200 high-quality workplaces for Givaudan AG in a protected industrial building formerly belonging to Maggi AG.
THE MAGGI SITE
The industrial site formerly belonging to Maggi AG is located along the railway line between Winterthur and Zurich. The site, with its uniform and striking brick architecture dating from the beginning of the 20th century, is regarded as an important testimony to Switzerland's industrial history and is classified as an ISOS Type A preservation site. The area is being revitalised, opened up and developed into a high-quality workplace area. Over the next few years it aims to re-establish itself as a business park under the name "The Valley".
Ernst Niklaus Fausch Partner AG drew up the new master plan for the former Maggi site and based on this, developed the general design plan.
The planning and development approach focuses on the existing qualities and enhances these through carefully selected interventions, incorporating new-builds and extensions. These interventions, together with the high-quality existing buildings, develop a unique and unmistakeable identity. As a result, the original density from the 40s is restored. The already spatially-defining central axis, becomes once again the backbone of the area, housing the addresses of all existing and new buildings. In this way, the history of the site is being continued.
A HISTORY OF BUILDING UPWARDS
Building No. 1246- the former soup-bottling and crate-nailing plant of Maggi - is listed as a cantonal monument and is a distinctive brick building with staircase cores emphasising its corners. In 1931, the building was con- structed as a crate nailing plant by Debrunner+Blankart Architects, who as "house architects" planned a large part of the entire Maggi site.
Shortly after, in 1940, the same architects added two storeys to the building. Here, not only was the charecte- ristic material - a light clinker brick from nearby Pfungen - adopted, but the proportions and structure of the existing building were also continued. This is evident, for example, in the change from columns with capitals in the ground floor to mushroom columns in the upper floors, and in the vertically modulated façade of the two upper floors, contrasting to that of the ground floor. The interior of the building is characterised by overly-high spaces with galleries, reflecting the production process - the supply of material to the galleries above and the filling taking place in the halls below.
New working environments in striking spaces
Preserving and enhancing this unique structure and the facades was the architectural challenge in the con- version and extension of the building for 200 high-tech workplaces. Of particular importance was keeping all ceilings free from technical installations. Heating, ventilation, cooling, communication and electricity were led horizontally in a specially developed interior fit-out element running beneath the windows. The entire vertical distribution of building services and the seismic bracing in the form of shear walls were newly created within the outlines of the original staircase cores. The necessary thermal and acoustic insulation was provided by an internal cladding. Thus, all the rooms could be technically equipped with the latest systems and nonetheless be kept free from the usual technical installations. In this way, the distinctive appearance of the room is retained. Spherical fabric lanterns, specially developed together with interior designer Verena Frey and Zumtobel Licht AG, draw reference on the original lighting and thus reinforce the hall-like sense of the space.
The organisation of space draws reference on the spatial structure of the building. In the halls, compact workplaces are arranged in cluster offices, below the galleries the supporting facilities can be found, and on the galleries themselves, the places of informal contact and retreat. The two-storey extension houses the cafeteria with conference centre and management rooms. Together with the interior designer Verena Frey, a furnishing and utilisation concept was developed which natually aids orientation and simultaneously strengthens the spe- cial features of the building. The colours of the acoustic partitions echo the colours of the textile floor covering on the galleries. A single new staircase provides accesss to all floors as a complex, alternately cascading spatial sculpture, and thus serves as an attractive place for communication and contact.
Material and space
The careful selection of materials places the spatial experience in the forefront. Shades of grey dominate the rooms - from the darker grey of the PU flooring to the light grey tones of the wood panelling to the raw concrete ceilings and columns painted almost white. These tones are complemented and played-up by the oak surfaces of the stairs, handrails and the horizontal surfaces, the coloured carpeting of the galleries and the brushed aluminium of the staircases. These shades of grey form the backdrop for the soft colour palette of the furniture and the more intense colour palette of everyday life.
Structure and Proportion
The 2-storey vertical extension continues the basic structure of the building. The overly-high rooms are located along the facades and the single-storey rooms lie at the centre. The extra-high spaces are designed as orangeries with plants typically used for aroma production - this is the place for informal encounters and communication, whereas two centrally running floors accommodate the meeting areas and the open-space offices of the management.
The existing windows were in a condition too poor to be restored and were instead reconstructed in wood, incorporating original hinges and glass, and painted in a colour determined by a process involving archaeolo- gical assessment. These windows now serve as outer-windows, which accommodate the new fabric blinds and protect the interiors from the noise of the motorway. Inside, new triple-glazed timber windows interpret the proportions of the original.
As part of the façade renovation, windows originally planned and subsequently bricked-up were reopened, or the parapet cut down and traces of the previous conversion were partially removed. The windows of the former stairwells were imprinted in concrete and now reflect the shear walls which lie behind. The windows and pillars of the new floors stem from the basic dimensions, proportions and materials of the original building. This can be seen on the one hand in the continuation of the modulated pillars and the clear two-storey structure of the window openings, and on the other hand in the vertical and offset clinker brick, rotated by 45° to create a play on shadow in the sunlight. In this way the verticality of the first addition is reinforced - the story of stacking-up is told once more.
The building is one of the first LEED Gold certified refurbishments in Switzerland.