Loft Apartments


Loft Apartments 

Sempacherstrasse 19

8032 Zürich




Floor Area:  1`500 m2

Building Volume: 5`700 m3

Completion:  July 2002



  • Research & Brief Development
  • Full Architectural Services for Building and Interior

Situated in a sought-after residential area close to the centre of Zurich, the Sempacher Loft Apartments are an excellent example of modern and sustainable town renewal. An uninspiring apartment block from the 1930s originally occupied the site, which was in urgent need of repair and upgrading. A detailed survey of the building showed that everything from the wiring to the pluming needed replacing. Furthermore, the structure did not allow easy alterations to the cramped room layout. Counting the cost for the required work showed a discrepancy between required rental levels after the upgrade and the overall standard achievable. A feasibility study indicated clear overall advantages in the replacement of the existing building with a new one.

The aim for the new building was therefore to create:

  •  living structures which allow flexibility and change for future generations;
  •  a modern building that harmoniously connects to the built environment surrounding it;
  •  an environmentally-friendly building, taking into account the lifetime cycles of materials.

The building footprint was established by site constraints and sculpted to suit as many different internal space layouts as possible. This was further enhanced by placing the bath and kitchen core in the centre of the apartments as natural room dividers. The bathroom walls are made of translucent coloured glass allowing the light to connect the divided spaces. The façades reflect the internal layout, and vice versa. The building is clad with translucent overlapping glass ‘shingles‘ over coloured insulation, which cover the whole north façade and gradually open up towards the south façade.

The façade build-up with coloured insulation and translucent cladding was developed on the basis of a harmonious integration with the surrounding apartment blocks, which are rendered in warm colours and textures. Through careful selection of glass texture and translucency, together with the colour of the underlying insulation, the glass loses its natural hardness, allowing soft and emotional connections. Seasonal and diurnal light changes are resonated in subtle transformations in the appearance of the façade, allowing a harmonious integration of the building within its surroundings.