Carry the Changes – and Update
The building where Swisspearl had developed its products for the last 50 years was in urgent need of renovation. The modular construction with the memorable silhouette stands at the entrance to the factory area. The completely new façade displays an appropriate character – with an unprecedented joint pattern. Swisspearl has decades of experience with the principle of the rear-ventilated façade, which has proven itself once again. With the additional insulation, the renovated building is proof that ecological construction can look very attractive.
Michael Hanak The workplaces did not have sufficient thermal insulation or indoor climate protection. Therefore, Swisspearl decided to modernise the research building, which was constructed in the 1960s. The architects Cadosch & Zimmermann implemented the renovation in three stages: façade renovation for the Technical Testing Center first, then the central laboratory and, finally, an interior renovation of the entire facility.
The idea was to bring all the various architectonic demands under one roof. On one side, the new Swisspearl façade should express the innovative spirit of the company while, on the other, the high-quality architectural expression of the existing system should be kept. A total renovation of the building shell was essential from the technical aspects of comfort and energy efficiency. Solid blue Swisspearl panels were so placed that they never disclose the serial construction, instead presenting a more dynamic textural joining pattern with variable formats and joint widths. Through the use of a high-quality heat coupling system, the original strip windows – slightly projecting and equipped with awnings – take on an even more concise form and connect the single construction elements together. Unsightly façade apertures for climate control systems, ventilation valves, etc., could be eliminated completely. In addition, the base has a dark tone while the main floor projects over it as white panels.
The flat angled double pitch roof is now covered with Ondapress corrugated panels, thus reversing some confusing details from an earlier roof renovation. The chimney of the existing oil heating system, a marked component of the entire ensemble, also received a new cladding with joint dynamics similar to the main façade.
In the second stage, the central laboratory workshop, annexed in 1978, was fitted out with a new shell of fine corrugated Efasal panels. The lustrous white tone that the architects selected for the roof, as well as the façade skin, lets the rather heavy volumes appear to be lighter and these recede somewhat against the filigree volumes of the first stage. The theme of the window frames was also applied here in a slightly modified form. The renovation of the interior rooms, which have changed considerably over the course of the years, has still to be done.
Built in 1960, the research laboratory was one of the most axiomatic buildings of the post-war modern movement in the Canton of Glarus. Its serial volumetric layout and its prefabricated façade construction make the building worth preserving. An integral preservation is not possible, though, due to the usage demands, and the detailing of the original building parts is no longer convincing. However, Cadosch & Zimmermann, inspired by the original spirit, found ways to continue it in the contemporary form of the renovation. In the same way that the serial mounted sandwich elements were once an expression of the architecture style of that time, so today is the unprecedented use of panels and joint pattern alignments in the façade.
NICE TO KNOW
Technical Testing Center of Swisspearl
Swisspearl, Niederurnen, Switzerland
Cadosch & Zimmermann, Zurich; Roman Schneider (project and construction manager)
Jürg Zimmermann, Zurich, Switzerland
2009 – 2010
Gebrüder Thoma AG, Amden, Switzerland
Swisspearl Carat Azurite 7040
PDF project sheet
Click here to download the project sheet