… than when a person can take refuge in his home and rest here, when he can perhaps sit down in his own garden, where the sun shines most beautifully of all, where the air is so wonderfully invigorating and even the shade cools as pleasantly as a tepid bath!” commented Tomáš Baťa, co-founder of the Czech shoe company Bata, on the question of living. This spirit should also be inherent in the Bata Park in Möhlin, Switzerland, where the company produced shoes from 1932 to 1990. The listed colony with factories, workers’ housing estate, boarding house and park is today regarded as an important architectural testimony to the industrial and housing development of early Swiss modernism.
A competition has now focused on the development of the hitherto unused eastern park area with rental apartments that are to be oriented to the character of the existing buildings. The design by Masswerk Architekten, Lüchinger+Meyer (structure and facade) and Raymond Vogel Landschaften obviously succeeded very well. “Taba” has achieved one of the three awarded first places. “The project builds on a convincing urban planning concept, namely of continuing to build in the spirit of the existing complex. It has been worked on in depth and consistently in all areas.”
The design calls for 168 residential units distributed primarily among 2- to 3-story row houses. The link to the existing buildings is also reflected in the materialization of the new buildings. In particular, the dominant red exposed brick of the facades is given a corresponding presence. The jury praised the basic construction concept as follows: “The proposed construction method with robust materials is clearly aimed at cost-effective construction and durability: concrete base, clinker walls, rendered single layer masonry.”
A double-skin facade structure ensures durability for the particularly exposed areas. On the upper floors and at the ends of the terraced houses, the facade structure changes to a special form of single layer masonry, the KISmur system. It is plastered with a lime plaster similar in color to brick and enriched with brick dust. This system offers a particularly balanced combination of sustainability and economy through its low-tech approach. Nevertheless it maintains great durability and 100% recyclability.
Visualizations: Stefano Zeni