Spring 1998, completion spring 1999

C.+H. Krähmer

Neusser Strasse 618-620, Köln-Weidenpesch

Housingproject with retail/office units

3 duplex/triplex, 1 retail/office unit



Housingproject with retail/office unit based on a ruin

Conversions, Life & Work

Situated behind a new building next to busy Neusser Straße, which was designed also by Wansleben Architekten, it was a burnt out ruin. Development was permitted provided the envelope of the former barn was retained.

It could be transformed into a housing project with a retail/ office unit at ground level.

The retrail/ office unit was columnfree with a winter garden. Three apartments occupying two stories were created each with an entrance at ground level and, the upper level having a gallery and a skylight.

The office unit could be connected to the right hand housing unit. This flexibility of use prompted a young and expanding computer animation company to rent the entire building. They accomodated their logistic section on the upper level and their designers on street level. Presently the upper level is used once again as an apartment and the lower as a private kindergarten.

The starting point for the design was the restoration of the ruined walls using their spacial and aesthetic potential for the interior and the surrounding courtyard. Therefore the old walls were cleaned and where necessary strengthened from the inside. No new closed facade walls were permitted to be added to the existing ones so instead glass was used. The process of transformation was visible.

Where there were no walls the visual connection between inside and outside was achieved by superimposed layers (curtains, trellis with plants or fabric) and reflections of the glass. A skylight in each apartment allows light into the upper rooms, opens them to the sky, but shuts out the light when the curtains are closed.

The structure of the building becomes perfectly suited to combine working and living.

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