Home for Senior Citizens
Cadonaustr. 71-75
Chur, Graubünden


Peter Zumthor 1993

The 'hand of the architect' and the craftsmanship of construction are qualities that make this building stand out. A long slab containing a row of apartments on two floors, this building seen from a distance would be similar to the surrounding 'modernist' blocks if it were not for the noble use of materials as opposed to only paint.

Tufa and glass cover most of the facade; larch wood is used for the framing of openings and the interior paneling; exposed concrete at fewer points reminds us of the existence of a physical structure. And it is that the real structure of this building is social which is ultimately expressed in its spatial configuration.

The east facade holds two entrances to the building which are integrated into the row of double height windows, but the space inside is always single height: the large windows are more of an 'effect' as in much of Zumthor's work. The entrance leads into a large common space that distributes the inhabitants into their personal living units. Instead of a hallway this space is more like a long living room which has been subtly parceled by the repetition of the apartments and by the personal furniture of the inhabitants, although in an unobtrusive way and keeping a communitarian sense in the space.

The cells are more like big pieces of furniture themselves since their volume and partitioning doesn't seem to touch the ceiling and floor. The rhythm created as the cells move in and out and the play between depth and surface make the cells appear like individual notes of a musical score. The west facade expresses the individuality of the the living units while still remaining loyal to the singularity of the whole.

Ludwig Abache 2001

How to visit

By bus: From Chur train station take bus line #4 direction Altersheim and stop at Cadonaustr. station. The building is a few meters to the right side.

By car: Highway A13 exit Chur Nord, direction center, straight ahead at the roundabout ca. 100m, turn left into Kirchgasse, turn left at the top of the hill, drive ca. 200m until you arrive at the Home for Senior Citizens.

The building can only be visited from the outside. For more information call +41 81 354 5454. 


Books and other web sites

The city of Chur has a very nice website with an interactive map that can help you find the location of any address that you query. http://www.chur.ch.

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