House by BeL Associates

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House by BEL Architects

BeL Associates of Germany have transformed a listed former railway workers' house in Cologne into a family home.

House by BEL Architects

The terraced house, built between 1903 and 1905, has been part of one of Cologne's oldest cooperative housing developments.

House by BEL Architects

The house was previously divided up into three apartments but is now a single family home.

House by BEL Architects

Round mosaic tiles feature throughout the house, covering surfaces including a built-in desk in a former fireplace, doorways and the shower cubicle.

House by BEL Architects

Above photograph is courtesy of BeL Architects

The kitchen and dining areas are on the ground floor, with the living room and two bedrooms on the first floor and the master bedroom and bathroom on the second.

House by BEL Architects

Photographs are by Veit Landwehr unless otherwise stated.

House by BEL Architects

Here's some more information form the architects:


The garden city Eisenachstraße erected by the „Köln-Nippeser Bau- und Spargenossenschaft“ Cooperative in 1903-1905 is one of the oldest cooperative settlements in Cologne. Built as housing for the railroad workers of the adjacent coach yard by the architect Heinrich Krings, the settlement won a gold medal for innovative floor plans at the World Exhibition in Paris in 1900.

House by BEL Architects

Above photograph is courtesy of BeL Associates

Each of the sixty terrace houses has two storeys plus attic, brickwork walls and 150 square meters of floor space. The functional floor plans allow a division into up to three residential units, a small kitchen garden to the rear is accessed from the staircase.

House by BEL Architects

Above photograph is courtesy of BeL Associates

Today, the formerly independent City of Nippes is part Cologne‘s inner city and a sought-after residential area. The old workers' district is in an advanced stage of gentrification, the rail maintenance facility has been replaced by a car-free settlement, similar to Prenzlauer Berg in Berlin it has the second highest birth rate in Germany, workshops are replaced by cafes serving Belgian chocolate and ginger-pumpkin soups.

House by BEL Associates

e38 is a listed building as the last building of the settlement with original facades. The house was nearly ruined by a late 90‘s refurbishment without any affection.

House by BEL Associates

Three bathrooms were installed, rooms partitioned, dreadful wallpaper and tiles covered the simple but sturdy original materials. When the new owners, a graphic designer and an actress with two children, acquired the house for a considerable amount of money, there was little left for the renovation budget. 

House by BEL Associates

In a state of decay and divided into three apartments the house was reconverted into a single-family home through subtle interventions in the building‘s structure. The enclosed staircase now opens to the adjacent living and dining rooms, the kitchen moved to the front of the building and the former narrow hallway was replaced by a spacious entrance hall.

House by BEL Associates

The separation wall between kitchen and entrance hall kitchen has built-in storage rooms and a desk space comes kitchen counter. A new door gives access to the garden from the dining room, which is accompanied by a new fireplace extending into the staircase. The fireplace wall is a mirror connecting the upper floors to the ground floor by reflecting the historical wooden stairs.

House by BEL Associates

On the first floor the large living room faces the garden and has openings to the staircase. The two children‘s rooms face the street. The second floor features the master bedroom with a dressing room and a large family bathroom. The conceptual idea of the building‘s conversion is a two-pronged strategy of both brutalization and refinement. Found in a condition with a sound substance covered by a layer of junk materials, the building was stripped of the latter and dissected to its essence.

House by BEL Associates

Traces of the buildings alterations throughout its 100 years purposely remain visible. Where ever unwanted alterations were removed original materials such as brickwork or wooden floorboards surfaced. The design melts the building‘s evolvement in time into a single condition of concurrence. No period is preferred to the other. It is a juxtaposition of fragments. Even though there is strong evidence of the true, original state of the building, the design does not claim to be authentic. In fact the margins between old, very old and new are blurred by an all-embracing color concept consisting of shades of beige. Like a dentist adjusting infill colours to the patient‘s teeth the design‘s incisions and insertions adapt to their conditions, dissolve into the overall blur, while, paradoxically, remain genuine on a material level. Round mosaic tiles are found throughout the building.

House by BEL Associates

realisation

owners: jörg waschat, sonja baum
cooperative terrace house conversion
architecture: BeL Associates, Cologne
team: Anne-Julchen Bernhardt, Jörg Leeser, Wiebke Schlüter, Wolfgang Zeh
net floor area: 150 m2
client: N.N.
refurbishment budget: 100.000 €
structural engineer: Jürgen Bernhardt, Cologne
completion: May 2009


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Posted on Thursday, November 18th, 2010 at 10:37 am by Catherine Warmann. See our copyright policy. Before commenting, please read our comments policy.

  • jed_

    just beautiful. amazing skill.

  • Flying Dutchman

    Nice bricks!

  • adrian

    why they put this kind of material in the corridor in the shower in the kitchen.. it makes it more small, i think is not so confortable …

  • milena

    I actually think its good/interesting that they put a different material in the corridor/shower/kitchen; I like how they play with that.
    To me it gives the space an extra dimension while still keeping it clean, oversee-able and interesting…
    Im very much impressed by the design of this apartment, to me it looks cozy, well-thought through and timeless. I'd live there! (Love the mirror-wall in the first image)
    —Bit worried about some little details, like baseboards (there arent any …!), lets see how that looks after some years mopping of the floors…

  • http://hollylivinginberlin.blogspot.com/ Holly von Huene

    I would live here in a heart beat!