Bernd, Hilla and Max

For 130 years, cellulose was produced industrially on the Attisholz site in Riedholz (SO). In 2008, the factory doors closed forever. Over the next 25 years, the site is to be put to a new use, while preserving the impressive appearance of the industrial complex due to the size and impact of the buildings. Already today the gastronomic and cultural offers as well as the children’s playground enjoy great popularity.
The conversion of the Kocherei building is the first important building block for the urban development of the site. A study commission from Halter AG, the owner of the site, aimed to develop a project with a variety of uses such as housing, services, commerce, gastronomy, etc. The team led by Giuliani Hönger architects was responsible for the design. The team of Giuliani Hönger Architects won 2nd place in the process. Lüchinger+Meyer supported the design work in the field of structural engineering. The jury attests the project “Bernd, Hilla and Max” a successful examination of the existing building. “The contribution provides exciting and convincing answers on the most diverse levels. The authorship succeeds in specifically addressing the site and its unique challenges. Reinforcing the existing, generating the new, and combining the two worlds into a whole. […] Specific support structures shape the typologies and expression of the different buildings in this design proposal.”

The structural design provides for integral preservation of the primary structure of the existing building, with new floor slabs supplementing the existing structure as wood box slabs with joists. The expansion and addition of the Kocherei is accomplished by continuing the existing structural system in the form of concrete frames and slabs with economical ceiling spans of 3.5 meters.
The name of the design “Bernd, Hilla and Max” supports the industrial legacy and the idea of further development. The artist couple Bernd and Hilla Becher gained international renown through black and white photographs of industrial buildings and landscapes. Since the 1950s, they have photographed functional buildings of industrialization: winding towers, gasometers, blast furnaces, power plants, grain silos. In addition to the important cultural-historical contribution – many of the buildings depicted have long since ceased to exist – it is to their credit that they document the high design quality of seemingly banal engineering buildings. Son Max – the future link in the title – also turned to photography.

The seven project designs can be viewed from Thursday, March 30, 2023 at an exhibition on the site in the Eisenmagazin on Aareplatz.

(Visualisations: maars)