botanical institute zurich

competition for the design of the botanical institute in an existing classicistic villa

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Address: 8008 Zürich
Client: Hochbaudepartement Stadt Zürich
Design: spillmann echsle architekten in collaboration with Staffelbach Architekten
Year: 2005

The layout of the Rainhof villa relates to both the layout of the Villa Forni-Cerato (1542) by Palladio, and to Semper’s design for the Aufdermaur villa built in Brunnen (1862). Conceptually, the project aims to clarify and specify the existing spatial disposition. Primarily imprecise spatial dispositions such as spatial fragmentation, the stairwell, the main entrance at the side of the building as well as changes dating back to the 1950s were reinstated to their original condition. 
By confining functional interventions to the middle section, a new spatial sequence was created around this same, newly cleared centre that is both sustainable as well as flexible in use. Similar to a backbone, the new staircase and glass elevator finely engraved with vines connect and give access to the various floors. The stair well admits daylight to the lower parts of the building. The stairs end on the roof terrace.
 The fragmented structures of the attic floor were replaced with seminary rooms. Roof lights create a studio-like atmosphere.