Old Iron Does Not Rust

In 1972, The Balken in Würenlos was a symbol with high attraction far beyond the region, but over time it lost its connection to the community. Now picture a transformative project that not only revitalizes this place but also redefines community life. Connected to the Limmattalbahn and surrounded by nature, The Balken will become a thriving local axis. In response to the challenges of housing development, age-appropriate apartments are being created, supporting the ownership switch of oversized housing, and thereby creating living space for young families. Communal spaces on the ground floor offer engaging activities, while innovative design mitigates highway noise and air pollution. This project isn't just about reimagining living spaces; it's about catalyzing positive change and creating a vibrant, interconnected community. Read more

The Balken, once a symbol of freedom, mobility, and prosperity and a hub for culinary experiences, lost its connection to the community over time due to changing travel patterns and consumer behavior. However, a visionary transformation is now underway, aiming to turn this space into a thriving community space that addresses multiple challenges faced by the region.

Therefore, the Balken is strategically linked to the new Limmattalbahn station and the existing forest hiking trail, becoming a vital local axis. It serves as a connection point for the surrounding communities and green corridors along the Limmat Valley. The service area will continue to function as an ancillary facility. The 24-hour supply, catering, and petrol station services, as well as the associated car parks, will remain the same. The service area can, therefore, continue to be operated as an ancillary facility, in accordance with Art. 7 NSG.

Because the region faces challenges like population growth, limited development space, and a significant number of elderly homeowners with oversized housing, a part of the Balken is transformed into smaller, age-appropriate apartments, facilitating the switch from oversized housing and creating living space for young families. Furthermore, residents of the region express the desire for social interaction and affordable homes.

Public spaces on the ground and first floor offer opportunities for engagement, allowing residents to subsidize their rent through participation and foster social connection. To achieve the social-ecological transformation of the existing building stock, the project aims to activate what is already there through measures focused on building preservation, adaptation, renovation, and transformation.

Densified building and living in noisy locations must be facilitated by adjustments regarding noise pollution in environmental protection laws and supplemented by architectural measures. Despite its unusual location next to a highway, the Balken features a glass acoustic wall to reduce noise, preserving the views. The integration of plants helps absorb and decompose pollutants, contributing to a pleasant indoor environment.

The Balken project exemplifies how small acts can lead to significant positive changes in community living. Residents experience a sense of belonging, fostering a vibrant and interconnected community. In conclusion, the Balken's transformation represents a holistic approach to community development, addressing housing needs, promoting social interactions, and embracing innovative design to create a unique and sustainable living space. Read less

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