12th century Kappel Monastery regains consistency despite plethora of expansions
Atelier Kempe Thill in collaboration with BBZ landscape architects has recently won the invited international competition for the revitalisation and development of Kappel Monastery near Zürich, Switzerland, a protected historical monumental complex that today serves as a seminar hotel and educational centre of the protestant church of Zürich. The realisation of the project is planned for 2018.
The monastery was originally founded in the late 12th century by the Order of Cistercians. Through the past centuries and especially with the change of its function after the reformation, the consistency of the original set-up has been diluted. Parts of the original outside wall disappeared, the buildings inside the wall altered and outside the wall buildings were added.
In the twentieth century the agricultural part of the monastery - a cow farm with stables and silos - was extended and modernised. This step with stable buildings with large new roofs and vertical silo constructions in particular began to affect the image of the monastery as a whole.
For these reasons the project proposes a new masterplan, a landscape design and a concept for new buildings:
The urban set-up of the whole convent is to be revised. The result of this is a new masterplan wherein functional zones are clearly defined, new buildings are positioned in a logical way and a logical treatment of the landscape is defined.
The singular position of the almost perfectly square monastery complex is accentuated by the completion of the outside wall. The clear definition of inside and outside corresponds on one hand to the original concept; on the other hand it also answers important issues of the complex’s use today. The clear spatial gesture allows a sensitive treatment of the garden: main access, lawns, orchards, flower gardens, as well as the vista terrace are reorganised in an adequate way and strengthened in their character and their interaction.
The agricultural farm buildings are to be constructed anew. Two new cow stables and a hay barn will be erected in slightly different positions. These new buildings - set up according to the best conditions for the cows - are entirely conceived in wood and form a small ensemble that integrates harmoniously into the picturesque scenery. The vertical silos are replaced by horizontal ones that are as well synthetically integrated into the landscape.