Miller Maranta - Switzerland
Patumbah-Park Residence and Hamam
Zollikerstrasse 108 - 126
Mühlebachstrasse 151 - 159, Zürich

2005 - 2013

The Patumbah-Park project goes back to an idea of Lis Mijnssen, which was born in the United States and raised in Central Switzerland.
Because of her fondness for the culture of the Maghreb, the idea to build a hammam arose. In this region the steam bath plays a crucial social role
with its ancient tradition. To remedy the lack of such a steam bath in Zurich, she started with the search of a suitable building site
in the early 1990s.
After testing various locations, Lis Mijnssen encountered the Patumbah-Park, which seemed appropriate to her. However, the implementation of the idea
turned out to be extraordinarily difficult. The opulent historic villa, dating back to a Zurich businessman, who came to great welth with tobacco plantations in Sumatra
the late 19th century. The large villa was completed in 1885, six years later, the work on the extensive park could also be completed. Just a short time after completion
the owner deceased. He bequeathed the property to his wife and children. Already in 1911 they gave away the whole estate to the deaconess Neumünster,
which sold part of the park. The Villa and the southern part of the park were later acquired by the city of Zurich. The outstanding qualities of the ensemble have only later
been rediscovered. In 1995 a foundation was established with the aim to preserve and restore the Patumbah Park. However, the foundation did not have the necessary
financial resources. In 2000 this became an opportunity for Lis Mijnssen, and in the end the interests of different parties could be satisfied. The two parts of the property
could be united again and made into a public park, while a hamam was to be built on a narrow strip of land at the Mühlebachstrasse. However, the cost of the park
and hammam proved do be too high for the investor. After several attempts Lis Mijnssen decided to make the construction of the hammam possible through
the sale of condominiums. She commissioned the Basel architects Miller & Maranta to work out a new development allowed by the buildng code in this area.
After several studies, the decision in favor of an edification with bulky building structures along the edges, which make free the historic park in the middle, is made in 2005.
This development concept by the architects
Miller & Maranta envisages to obtain the spatial depth of the historical park and to reduce for the loss of historical substance
as much as possible. Along the edges of the park two irregularly cut volumes are placed, which are integrated into the parkland by large incisions and a restrained color
and materiality
scheme. The realized ensemble basically comprises four main components: The building with condominiums and hammam at the Mühlebachstrasse,
the construction with further condominiums on the Zollikerstrasse, the historic Villa Patumbah and the everything unifying Patumbah Park. The two new buildings
by Miller & Maranta are regardes as a differing couple. The elongated building with a facade of brightly glazed concrete at the Mühlebachstrasse is used in many ways.
It is a residential house with detached-like residential types and in the area of the transition to Hammam are located some workrooms and a bazaar. Seven out of ten
apartments have a private entrance to the street and develop over three to four storeys in height. The interweaving of the residential units allows the flats to be exposed
to daylight from several sides, and the residents take benefit of the particular situation on the edge of a park. The body of this building terminates inthe south with
the volumetrically differentiated Hammam, organized as a multi-storey construction. Broken only by moucharabies, the cube refers to Oriental models. Introverted
and protecting against prying eyes, the indoor closes the outer space. The interiors of the hammam are layed out according to the flow of the cleaning ritual.
There are warm and hot rooms as well as a relaxation area and massage rooms and a rooftop terrace with views of the park. The building at the Zollikerstrasse features
a darker façade made of hammered concrete. In this building, which also has a plastically designed facade, there are apartments layed out on one level.
The extraordinarily deep floorplans of a polygonal design result in an exceptional façade perimeter.