Tranformation of an Industrial Monument – Storey Towers in The Canton of Glarus

by Stefan Noser from ZHAW – Zurich University of Applied Sciences and Arts, Switzerland
Tutored by: Marc Loeliger, Ingrid Burgdorf

Author comments:

Storey towers (German: “Hängetürme”, literally meaning “hanging towers, towers for hanging”) are of great significance in terms of structure as well as cultural history. By their characteristic form they are reminiscent of the economically and socially vital era of the textile industry in the Canton of Glarus. As contemporary witnesses and symbols of the industrialisation as well as by their interesting design and remarkable quality concerning craftsmanship they are regarded as architectural monuments, which place prominent emphasis in the overall appearance of many localities. The characteristic towers, designed for textile factories as buildings where freshly coloured cloth was hanged in order to dry, coined the industrial landscape in a high degree. All of these towers have long lost their original purpose. Some have been converted into apartments, others into storerooms. Several are vacant and dilapidated, therefore standing the risk of being demolished.

This master thesis is meant to demonstrate that adequate conversions for the storey towers can be found in order to improve their inclusion into the settlement areas. The transformation of an exemplary storey tower is meant to show feasible ways of integrating, by means of respectful treatment, new utilisations into the existing buildings that deserve protection. Thus, a coherent dialogue between new and existing basic fabric that respects preservationist aspects shall be focused on.

Jury comments:

The project deals with the transformation of a traditional and iconographic building typology into new use. The transformation is achieved in a technically very skilled and functionally considerate way, but falls short of realising its full potential. The result challenges the contemporary aesthetic preferences of the discipline.

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