Symbiont

Symbiont

Project/Location
Rooftop Addition 'Symbiont' | Trierer Straße 15 | 66636 Merzig

Clients
Patrick & Sabah Friedrich | Trierer Straße 15 | 66636 Merzig

Completed
2004

Area
new living space: 32 sqm + 17,5 sqm rooftop terrace

Volume
new living space: 88m3

Construction Cost
92.000€ gross construction costs

Awards




Task
In the center of the small Saar city of Merzig, this three story mixed residential and office building, built in the early 60s, is positioned on a small square which affords views of the Merzig City Hall and on the shoreline of the idyllic Seffer stream. The owners, who until now had lived in the 80 sqm upper floor, wanted more light in the existing living spaces, along with more space and a big rooftop and solarium.

Design Solution

At once, it was decided to place an addition on the roof level, reinforced after an inspection of the building's flat roof of the existing building discharged any lurking concerns. There seemed endless possibilities for making simple and sensible use of the roof. By removing a dividing wall in the upper level, the former living room and kitchen were combined into a single room and opened to the second level. A new light steel staircase rises from the now open area, simultaneously serving as skylight and guiding upwards. This staircase culminates at the living box, which opens along its entire length to the wood planked rooftop terrace at the south. To the east, the solarium is connected by a glass connection.
The limited budget did not allow for alterations to the light blue and cream colored tile facade of the existing building. Built to contrast with the late 50s architecture of the existing building, the roof addition is intentionally awkward. The existing building is regarded only as a base for this new geometry. The expansion of the roof plane is restricted by the current construction laws which date back to the 80s, with clearance and 2/3 regulation, placing a zoning constraint on addition.

Construction / Materiality

The programmatic requirements are accomodated in two economical, prefabricated boxes made of a wood frame construction. Due to time constraints, the boxes were largely prefbricated before being mounted on the building's flat roof along the green firewall extension of the neighboring property. In order to make the independent construction of the boxes externally visible, they were clad in contrasting materials. The "noble" living box is clad in dark gray cement-bonded particle board and contrasted with the "natural" solarium, clad in unfinished zinc sheeting. Over time, this sheeting will acquire a natural patina, changing like the plants through seasons.

Summary

All wishes of the homeowners were fulfilled as this construction transformed the dark, 80 sqm upper level unit into a 115 sqm, brightly lit maisonette with an open floor plan, a small balcony and a 17.5 sqm rooftop terrace with abundant space for plants.
The original and annexed structures achieve symbiosis – a cohabitation of two dissimilar objects for mutual benefit.

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