Ludwig Hänssler
HS  2022  Reframe, Rearrange, Repeat


The office building at Gartenhofstrasse 17 was built in 1966 by Sigmund Feigel (1921 - 2004). While the adjacent Zweierstrasse is lined by a row of office buildings constructed around the same time, Gartenhofstrasse 17 is slightly set back into the street, reaching into the realm of residential buildings and neo-classicist factory buildings.


Throughout its lifespan the building had been renovated several times. The roof and the party walls on both sides have been isolated, the canopy renewed, and in 2011 the old facade panels were exchanged. The new facade, designed by Rolf Schaffner, led to a drastic decrease in energy consumption. The different construction periods result in a „bricolage des temps“.


Currently three of the building’s six stories are empty due to the relocation of municipal police offices, making the future of Gartenhofstrasse 17 uncertain.


Only few interventions are necessary to fundamentally change the organization of the building. 

On the inside a new form of living takes place where domestic spaces and the workplace fade into each other. From the outside the additions reinterpret the appearance of the building within its urban setting. While keeping the integrity of Schaffner´s facade intact, the side facades are opened with large pivoting windows that create a vis-à-vis to the adjacent neo-classicist buildings. In the courtyard one of the three parking garages has been opened, creating an alley way between the former office building and a new atelier building. On the front side an extension of the canopy allows a glimpse into the hidden world of the backyard. 


The ways in which particular elements, spaces and structures are transformed remind us of the „rococoization“ of gothic churches.  By introducing a new grammar, given things change the way we perceive them. Despite the obvious friction between building periodes and languages there derives a new unity.