Construction in existing contexts is an integral part of architectural practice. At the beginning of the 19th century when active protection of monuments began, the focus was on preserving buildings that are exemplary for architectural heritage. The additional conversion of a building is often more economical for municipalities than mere preservation and, moreover, contributes to the revival of existing urban structures.
When building a new construction in a vacant lot, architects also have to consider the buildings surrounding the construction site. That is even more true when a replacement construction is built. New building projects can be optically integrated with surrounding buildings, or be constructed to look totally different. Should the context be visually preserved? Or should there be a different formulation and interpretation of the environment, for example, to make the onsite building structure more compact? Renovations, conversions and extensions of existing buildings complete the redevelopment when building in existing contexts. This exploration of existing structures is important because cultural landscapes, historic towns, villages, neighbourhoods, individual buildings and archaeological sites are an important part of our architectural heritage and reflect our culture and history.
An example of building in existing contexts is in Feldmeilen. Here there are five houses, renovations and new buildings forming an urban ensemble with a small square at their centre. The Overall Project was carried out by Zurich-based architect Martin Gautschi with Serliana AG. A special feature of the project is the parquet floor produced by Bauwerk Parkett as a special order for the interior.
With the preservation and expansion of an existing building structure such as in Feldmeilen, functioning city or village centres are produced. Fewer green spaces must give way to development areas that have been stripped of their identity, which often poses a huge challenge for local infrastructures. Local rents can be kept low, allowing a social mix of residents. With renovation, fewer new building materials are used than for a new building, whereby preservation often makes ecological sense.
In contrast to existing buildings, however, society is continuously changing. As a result, buildings created for a specific function or the needs of residents must be adapted to changing conditions. This also includes new requirements for living comfort, which changes due to new living standards or technical developments. These new standards must also be harmonized with the preservation of monuments in the case of some old buildings. This is also the case with the “Huchler Scheune“ originating from the 17th century in Waiblingen near Stuttgart. Here, the architect was also the builder and converted the barn into a space for both living and working.
For the interior, Cleverpark Oak Farina from Bauwerk Parkett was used for the parquet floor. The use of parquet flooring for renovation projects has many advantages. Often it can be applied on existing floors. For installation on stone, tile or strip flooring, their evenness is an important requirement. However, in cases where sound and heat insulation are missing, a reconstruction of the subfloor usually makes sense. The old floor must also be replaced if underfloor heating is required. When building in existing contexts, the look of a historic wooden floor can be reinterpreted with a new parquet floor from Bauwerk Parkett, and furthermore, its healthy living properties have a positive effect on the interior atmosphere.