Although the town of Idstein in Germany counts only 26,000 inhabitants, it is still well-known in many history books, for being an infamous medieval town that has a dark history, one that is not especially praiseworthy.
Historically witches were hunted in the Rheingau-Taunus region, and burned in the witch tower of Idstein. The witches have since disappeared, but the architecture remains witness to the horrors of this old town. A medieval town center, which is studded with many half-timbered truss buildings, and a 42 meter high witch tower, represents the symbol of the city.
Today on homify we want to focus on another historic building, an unused transformer station in the Old Town, which has been transformed into a residential building. This intriguing property was awarded in 2014 the Golden House Award. Let’s take a tour inside…
The architect Gerhard Guckes knew the old transformer station already well, as his architectural office was located within easy reach. So when in 2008 the transformer station was scheduled to be demolished, the architect decided to buy the building and save the historic building with a modern extension.
The location of this power-supply relic is in the upper part of the old town, at the end of a row house and adjacent to a half-timbered manor called Höerhof, which dates back to the early 17th century.
Firstly, the architect raised the stone wall of the transformer station. This can be easily seen on the left side of the building. The aim here was to form a homogeneous surface and at the same time create a graduation, as well as a differentiation. The modern annex was placed behind the resulting natural stone panel.
The cubic building has, at first glance, a completely contrary shape. The façade of the new building is clad with Corten plates, which have narrow joints creating a grid, consequently giving the cube structure. Choosing the rusty surface hue picks up the dominant color of the natural stone wall and creates visual harmony. In parallel, the annex contrasts the architectural language, forming a bridge between the old and the new.
The old tower of the living room is combined with the annex, which is spread over 110 square meters. The created Ensemble offers contemporary comfort with lovingly preserved details. The established pair of features offer contemporary comfort with carefully preserved heritage details.
Let's take a look into the interior of the house. In this zone, the mixture of the two time periods is apparent. To the left, the natural stone wall exudes Mediterranean flair. The rest of the space is designed in bright colors, in order to provide the dark mineral wall with definition. The floor in a modern stone, and a truly special eye-catcher is the staircase, which is defined by two mutually suspended elements. The segments formed from the individual steps create a shelving system beneath the treads that provide plenty of storage space.
Moving into the highest floor, we again find ourselves in the historic tower. The two buildings are connected by a glass roof, creating a transparent unit. This provides a striking view over a part of Idstein, and feels like a small, private fortress.
If you would like to see another stylish property that has been rescued from demolition, check out our ideabook: The rural farm with industrial soul.