Office and Apartment Block in Aarau
This new six-storey building for a Swiss media group stands in a prominent location on the street between the railway station and the old town centre. Although large, it blends surprisingly well with the heterogeneous surroundings, thanks to its glass facade. A passageway leading right through the building at ground level forms a new pedestrian link, identified on the east side by a widening out of the building and on the west by a full-height recess. Other openings in the volume are two internal courtyards which provide light for the inward-facing rooms. The mix of residential, office and retail space is in line with its urban setting. On the ground floor is a bookstore and restaurant, on the middle floors are offices, and right at the top are seven well-appointed city apartments (up to 172 square metres in area), with open-plan kitchens and large loggias. The most distinctive feature of the project is its glass envelope which forms the outer layer of a double-skin façade and is divided into storey-high horizontal sections. The layer behind this – a punctuated facade clad with red-brown cement-bound fibreboard – is sometimes clearly visible, and at other times, due to reflections from neighbouring buildings, intriguingly disguised. This special effect is achieved by bending the finished laminated glass sheets in a mould at a temperature of 600?°C and then bonding them to curved rectangular profiles.