Noirmont Extension: translucent vs opaque

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Sometimes a simple extension can resurrect an obscure apartment building like in Le Noirmont, Switzerland. To gain extra space for the existing complex of apartments, a new external staircase was developed. A limited budget lead to the final solution: a lightweight structure composed by standard steel elements assumes the skeleton of this new addition.

Floors, stairs and ceilings are made of raw aluminum sheets while a powerful composition of translucent polycarbonate panels offers a breath of fresh air to the existing volume. A tectonic dialogue was brilliantly achieved in this special interaction of opposites: translucent and opaque here means new and old architecture.

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The metal staircase reflects colored light from tinted glazed panels that change color from floor to floor. The illuminated interior gives the building a colored glow at night while allowing people outside to see movement within this translucent tower.

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Square-shaped windows are the only transparent element in this surprising project which explores materials, colors and shapes to maximize aesthetics and function.

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Architects & Photography: Dubail Begert