Miller Maranta - Switzerland
Residence for Elderly People Spiragarten
Spiragartenstrasse 2, Zürich
2005 - 2006

The Spirgarten old person's home, designed by Miller & Maranta, is located in the center of Zurich-Altstetten. It is situated right on the main axis
 of the Badenerstrasse in close proximity to the Lindenplatz, a complex which was planned and already in the 1940s as a centre for an urban city district.
Between the Lindenplatz and the Spirgartenstrasse is locaed the Hotel Spirgarten from 1958, designed by Werner Stücheli, which contains different public uses.
The main entrance to the hotel Spiragarten is oriented towards the square and not onto the busy Badenerstrasse. The access of the old people's home
Spiragararten is likewise oriented laterally towards the Spirgartenstrasse. At this place, a newly formed, forecourt which is bordered on three sides,
forms a counterpart to the Lindenplatz and gives the passage crossing below the building by Werner Stücheli an adequete importance. This
opening forecourt also
results in a receiving gesture, distinguishing this public building from ordinary residential building. Accordingly, the south-facing space not only serves as an access,
but is also designed as lounge area and serves the public café of the house as an outdoor area.
With this layout the architects use the potential of this location.
They connect the housing for the elderly with a high degree of opening, so that the residents get an increased contact with the outside world and thus the design helps
to reduce the risk of an increasing isolation. The urban planning approach therefore contains one of the essential typological approaches. In addition, the forecourt results
in a mediation between the significant construction volume with the neighbouring small-scale structure. On the tight parcel the volume develops in a bone-like figure,
and the available area is well exploited to accommodate the considerable spatial program.

The six-storey building contains public spaces on the ground floor, four floors with small apartments woth one to three rooms, and the nursing department of the house
in the recessed attic floor on top. The 60 apartments are based primarily on a communicating room couple, connected by the small kitchen area. A coherent and continuous
spatial figure
with differentiated zones arises by opening the sliding doors. This spatial constellation is enriched through a variety of relationships and connections through
the entrance area and the retracted Loggia. Due to this design, the small apartments receive an unexpected generosity. In these apartments, the kitchen has been minimized,
since the operational concept stipulates that the meals are mainly prepared by the staff and served in the communal spaces. This creates a typological proximity to the
collective house in which various institutions of the individual area are moved into the communal areas.The ground floor is designed as a kind of comprehensive, large living room.
Through its contiguous space sequence the bone-like figure of the building can be experienced in its entireness. The widespread circulation space between the three bulges,
which accommodate the café, a fireside lounge and a restaurant, are designed like an internal promenade along the square. This area integrates the foyer with reception desk
and lobby in a self-evident way. In the attic floor the common room of the nursing department and the roof terrace, also oriented towards the square, are accessable for all residents.
In the residential floors the zones in front of the elevators are open to the court as well. This layout facilitates orientation in the entire building and creates additional space
for encounters between residens. The cozy and warm atmosphere
of the spacious common areas on the ground floor results to a large extent from the thoughtful revetment
which is built with great care. Walls and ceilings are fully clothed here with veneered paneling.

On the exterior the attic floor and the residential floors are encased with circumferential bands of concrete respectively windows, featuring wide aluminum frames
referring to motives of the surrounding buildings from the 50s and 60s. Contrary to these surrounding buildings, the balustrades are not plastered or covered with panels,
but are made of sandblasted situ concrete, which receives a warm tint by adding limestone. On the other hand, the windows of the ground floor are cut into the monolithic
exterior wall like holes, or they protrude in the form of a pre-hung flowers window, while they are drawn deep behind the overlying facade in the area of the
of forecourt.