Alexandre Fauchère, Andrea Weiss
The second place result among 42 teams in an open competition is a strong acknowledgement of the teamwork behind the project “Abendkleid”, realized together with Conen Sigl Architects. It shows that the approach to maintain an existing structure by means of a few well-directed interventions can be the key to success. Our proposal stood to benefit from the recent experience gained assisting Conen Sigl Architects on the realisation of two major building projects in existing context.
The Swiss embassy in London has functional, energetic, and structural shortcomings after 50 years of usage and several adjustments in those years. Our architectural proposal expanded the duty of an embassy beyond its diplomatic realm with a publicly open pub on the roof and thus giving back space to the neighbourhood in an increased privatised environment. The materials found on site would have been reused for new objects and placed into new configurations. The proposal “Abendkleid” layed itself on top of the existing layers. It had a continuously sustainable approach throughout all the different crafts.
The competition design made just a few interventions in the existing supporting structure. Changes were made in the north façade and the single-storey area. New load-bearing elements were used on the north façade on the ground floor. The load-bearing grid would have been retained.
In the single-storey part of the building, the ceiling slab would have been partially removed for an atrium extension. The columns in the entrance hall would have moved 3 metres to the east. The resulting extended ceiling panel would have been reinforced with beams.
The bracing and transfer of the horizontal loads was achieved via three access cores, the vertical load transferred via the supports inside the building and via the façade