The very name speaks volumes: "Siedlung Eigenheim" is the name of the quarter that was built half a century ago not far from Wiesbaden city centre. Here, in a sought-after residential area barely five minutes by car north of the city centre and right next to the city forest, those homes were built that still spread the charm of the fifties today: small, modest cottages on relatively large plots of land, inside mostly divided into many, from today's point of view narrow rooms. When these houses now change residents, for example when the next generation takes over such a home of their own, there is almost automatically a desire for conversion. Because the changed needs for space must be satisfied. But how? For architects, such a commission can be a welcome opportunity to examine the 1950s stock and its suitability for the demands of the 21st century. It is important to find contemporary answers and thus help the so important "building in existing buildings" to become even more popular.
The Haus R. in Wiesbaden is such a case: passed on from the parents to the children, the young family of three has thought about what kind of house it now has and what it needs. It quickly became clear that, with the exception of the living room, the very modest rooms were too small. Together with the building owners, they played through various possibilities and finally decided on an extension that gave the house a completely new face both externally and internally. The generous - and characteristic - situation of the existing living space with travertine floor, concrete fireplace, walnut ceiling and pent roof was retained, as was the adjacent dining room. Otherwise, the old house was thoroughly turned upside down. On the ground floor several walls were removed, an open kitchen now complements the flowing floor plan of the living and dining room, on the upper floor a large bathroom with sauna and the adjoining private area of the parents were created. From the saddle roof a flat roof, a small extension was removed, the walls were newly plastered, the window openings were enlarged.
The house, which had been completely renovated in this way, was complemented by a smaller twin, which accommodated a guest and study room on the ground floor, a small bathroom and a large children's room and another bathroom on the upper floor. A glass staircase with an adjusted steel staircase opens up the upper floor and connects the old and new buildings, but at the same time creates a clear caesura between the buildings and their living zones. As it became clear to the clients at the very beginning of the planning phase what far-reaching changes to the existing building were necessary in order to satisfy their current needs, they quickly agreed with the proposal to plan for further future changes in use at the same time. How does the house react, for example, when the child grows older, how when the family grows even bigger, and how when it shrinks again? As an answer, we designed the new extension as a self-sufficient unit, which with a few interventions becomes a (youth) apartment with its own access: the necessary connections for a small kitchen, for example, are already available, the lightweight walls allow different room layouts. By closing the openings to the staircase and adjusting a spiral staircase, the extension can finally become a separate, rentable apartment.
But it will be some time before that happens. Time in which the builders are happy about their new old house.