old and new combine for switch tower retrofit
A-Z architekten has turned a decommissioned railway signal box in wiesbaden, germany, into a center for children and young people. the conversion combines elements of past and present to breathe new life into the building while preserving its character. exposed masonry pairs with contemporary furnishings made from OSB panels while the exterior of the switch tower has been given a new timber skin.
view from the street
while it served as a railway signal box for the former wiesbaden west freight depot, the building contained a control room on the second floor and a lounge, toilet and boiler room on the first floor. for this project, the architects have created a multifunctional room on the first floor supplemented by a kitchenette and mobile kitchen furniture, which enables flexible use. this floor also includes an entrance and cloakroom area and barrier-free toilets.
the upper level houses a small playroom with windows on all four sides to create a light, airy space. A-Z architekten has also renewed the roof area to make way for an outdoor terrace, which is partially concealed thanks to an invisible parapet.
exterior view with closed windows
the existing masonry remains as a supporting structure but has been clad with a combination of regional and waste spruce. designed by educators from social-cultural network casa e.V., the untreated wooden façade is intended as an ‘action area’ where young artists are invited to spray graffiti. these elements will be removed and auctioned off as works of art to help finance casa e.V. the façade artists were supported by a donation from the late city councilor.
view of the tower
inside, the masonry has been cleaned and remains visible in order to preserve the character of the signal box. all the new surfaces and furniture pieces are made with OSB panels, including the interior doors on the first floor.
as a linear continuation of the façade, and as a protection against break-ins, all the windows and entrance doors are provided with folding shutters, which can be opened during use and closed again in the evening. during the construction, attention was paid to employing regionally based and well-trained craftsmen to ensure quality and to preserve traditions.
interior view with kitchen
interior view with furnishings made from OSB panels
name: children’s and youth center in a former switch tower
location: wiesbaden, germany
architecture: A-Z architekten
designboom has received this project from our DIY submissions feature, where we welcome our readers to submit their own work for publication. see more project submissions from our readers here.
edited by: lynne myers | designboom