botanical institute zurich

design competition for a botanical institute in an existing classical villa

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Location: 8008 Zürich
Client: Hochbaudepartement Stadt Zürich
Status: competition
Project: 2005
Planning and design: spillmann echsle architekten ag in collaboration with Staffelbach Architekten

The layout of the Rainhof villa takes reference from Villa Forni-Cerato (1542) by Palladio, and Semper’s design for the Aufdermaur villa built in Brunnen (1862). Conceptually, the project aims to simplify and specify the existing spatial qualities. It primarily resolves spatial fragmentation issues such as the stairwell, the main entrance and other alterations dating back to the 1950′s. These features were reinstated to their former use. By confining functional interventions to the centre of the building, a new spatial quality is created. This new open space is both sustainable and flexible. Similar to a spine, the new staircase and glass lift finely engraved with vines connect and provide access to the various floors. The stairwell allows daylight to infiltrate the lower parts of the building and provides access to the roof terrace. The fragmented structures in the attic were replaced with seminar rooms. Additional roof lights create a studio-like atmosphere.