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The three residential blocks of Berchtwilerstrasse were the first ‘high-rise’ buildings in the township, built in 1973. The brief was to improve the living standards in these apartments by extending the balconies as well as updating the outer insulation layer according to the current energy standards.
To demolish is to destroy the initial capital. Not just in an economical and ecological context, but also in the realm of social sustainability - the invaluable interpersonal relationships built up among the residents over the years. Housing blocks of the same era are often demolished and built new, and subsequently the rent increases in these newer apartments that become rather expensive and unaffordable for the previous cohort of residents. Alternatively, smaller, less costly transformations can be made to these tired, out-dated buildings to rediscover the potential in their inherent narratives. The residents of Berchtwilerstrasse now have private outdoor spaces that are twice the size than before, without any increase in the rent. The apartments were occupied during the entire renovation process, and the residents (some who were the first people ever to move in 44 years ago) are now inhabiting this new extension of their home.