Kloster Menzingen

Renovation, extension and partial conversion of a convent

Location - Menzingen CH
Client - Schwestern vom Heiligen Kreuz
Date - 2020
Surface - 8'000 m²

Invited competition - 3rd place
Collaboration with architect Rolf Schaffner
Landscape - Balliana Schubert Landschaftsarchitekten
Structural engineer - Weber Ingenieurbau
project consultancy - Zeugin Gölker Immobilienstrategien
The entire complex of the convent is an outstanding testimony of the monastic architecture in the period of historicism in Switzerland, but also to the long and rich history of the life and work of the Sisters of the Holy Cross (Schwestern vom Heiligen Kreuz) in Menzingen. The competition focuses on the conversion of the east and south wings.The program is diverse and includes a music school, artists' studios, office space, a bistro, a day-care centre and about 60 flats with various communal spaces.
The project aims to make the monastery more open and transparent, as it was in its original layout before the interventions of architect Hardegger at the end of the nineteenth century. In order to achieve this goal, the project proposes rebuilding the protected existing building in a discrete way and reordering the whole with two new volumes. Te goal is to preserve the character of the overall appearance and make it visible despite the new interventions. The proposal looks for suitable uses for the existing building, so that the introduction of new uses in the monastery with a lot of preservation and few interventions. Thanks to the ground floor program, social interaction and community are encouraged. In the corners of the complex are public-oriented uses such as the bistro and the day care centre, which generate interaction with the all municipality. All flats have a 2-sided orientation and are visually connected to both the communal courtyard and the surrounding landscape.
A residential building and an underground garage, with 42 parking spaces and direct connection to all houses, will be newly built. This will carefully complement the volumes of the complex. An internal network connects all staircases and all common areas on the ground floor. The inner courtyard, which is now closed off from the outside and divided into two, is spatially opened up by the different levels that slope down towards the south wing and also made accessible from the outside by a new passage in the east wing.
The inner courtyard not only connects all the entrances to the building, but also accommodates various functions: On the upper level, it is the outdoor space for the more public uses of the museum and the bistro, while on the lower levels it is a meeting and recreational space for all the residents of the complex.

This social centre is represented by the gardens in the courtyard, where everyone can plant flowers and plants, and by the pergola to the west, which provides shelter from the summer sun and opens the courtyard to the landscape.
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