Soli Sieme [a cooperative made up of the residents]
Usable floor area:
1600+ sq. meters [17, 222 SF]
In what ways does this project encourage inter-generational living?
There are shared common spaces for eating, working, and celebrating, while still allowing the residents the option of doing all those activities privately as well. An accessible shared roof terrace and a large courtyard that houses a “vertical garden” provide shared outdoor spaces.
How does this project demonstrate Universal Design or Barrier-Free living?
This project was not designed to be barrier-free and the residents are finding that they will need to come up with some creative solutions to allow them to continue to live there as they age.
What other amenity does the project feature that cater to the residents?
Personalization of individual condominiums and private balconies, loggias, or outdoor courts allow the residents to make their private spaces their own and separated from the communal spaces.
How does the layout of the building enhance the users experience?
The vertical garden faces south, which in the cold climate of Switzerland enables longer periods of use of the exterior space and allows controlled sunlight into the interior spaces.
How does the site enhance the project?
To the south, the land slopes gently up, which allows for both levels of the vertical garden to be accessed without climbing stairs.
What sustainable measures does this project employ?
The building is an old embroidery factory built in 1880 that closed down in 1998, and the Soli Sieme cooperative was able to reuse the building instead of tearing it down and building new. On the roof, there is a solar system for hot water and a photovoltaic system for electricity. There is also a Mobility car sharing station at the front of the house.
What public amenities are within the surrounding context of the project?
There seems to be a large green space to the east [Falkenwald] but it is unclear whether this is public or privately-owned property. Otherwise, the site is located outside the city center in a largely residential neighborhood.
Describe the interior, exterior, vertical and horizontal circulation.
Interior circulation is primarily vertical. There are some units that are accessed from the interior, while other units are accessed by the exterior [covered] horizontal circulation. There are two central stairs, one interior and one exterior, with the elevator tucked at the back by the exterior stair, but it is still easily accessible.
How do existing and created outdoor spaces enhance the design concept of the project?
The existing 1880 building formed an L-shaped south-facing exterior courtyard that was easy to turn into a communal garden space. A small addition on the east encloses the garden for additional privacy for the residents. Each unit also has at least one private outdoor space in addition to the shared vertical garden and roof terrace, all of which are wheelchair accessible.
What are the principal materials, assemblies, and structural system?
This project retained most of the existing building materials, assemblies, and structure, which are unknown. The units are each personalized by the residents, so the interior materials differ greatly.
Describe the entry approach to the building.
Street access to the building is gained by a tree-lined sidewalk that terminates at an exterior patio outside the main ground-floor entrance, which is much more public than the rear entry. This entry, which is more for the use of the residents, is accessed by a large pedestrian alley that climbs up [south] to the second level of the garden.
"Archplan AG Architekten â€“ Thalwil â€“ St. Gallen: Wohnfabrik Solinsieme." Archplan AG Architekten. N.p., n.d. Web. 11 Sept. 2013.
Feddersen, Eckhard, and Insa Lüdtke. Living for the Elderly: A Design Manual. Basel: Boston, 2009. Print.
"HAPPI." Homes and Communities Agency (HCA) |. N.p., n.d. Web. 11 Sept. 2013.
"SOLINSIEME Genossenschaft Für Neue Wohnform, St. Gallen." SOLINSIEME Genossenschaft Für Neue Wohnform, St. Gallen. N.p., n.d. Web. 11 Sept. 2013.