AZ architekten converts railway signal box into youth center in Germany

old and new combine harvester for modernization of the switch tower

AZ architekten has transformed a disused railway signal box in Wiesbaden, Germany, in a center for children and adolescents. the conversion combines elements of the past and present to breathe new life into the building while preserving its character. exposed masonry pairs with contemporary furniture made from OSB while the signal tower exterior has been given a new framework the skin.

view from the street

while serving as a railway signal house for the former wiesbaden west freight depot, the building contained a control room on the second floor and a lounge, toilet and boiler room on the first floor. for this project, the architects have created a multifunctional room on the first floor complete with a kitchenette and mobile kitchen furniture, which allows flexible use. this floor also includes a barrier-free entrance and cloakroom and washroom.

the upper level houses a small games room with windows on all four sides to create a light and airy space. AZ architekten also renewed the roof area to make way for an outdoor terrace, partially concealed by an invisible parapet.

children's and youth center in a former signal tower 1
exterior view with closed windows

the existing masonry remains a support structure but has been clad in a combination of regional spruce and waste. designed by educators from the socio-cultural network casa eV, the untreated wooden facade is designed as an “action zone” where young artists are invited to spray graffiti. the graffiti will be removed and auctioned off as artwork to help fund casa eV the artists on the facade were supported by a donation from the late councilman.

children's and youth center in a former signal tower 2
view from the tower

inside, the masonry has been cleaned and remains exposed in order to retain the character of the signal box. all new surfaces and furniture are made with OSB panels, including the interior doors on the first floor.

as a linear extension of the facade, and as protection against break-ins, all windows and entrance doors are fitted with folding shutters, which can be opened during use and closed again in the evening. during construction, particular attention was paid to the use of regional and well-trained craftsmen to guarantee quality and preserve traditions.

children and youth center in a former signal tower 4
facade details

children and youth center in a former signal tower 5
interior view with kitchen

children and youth center in a former signal tower 6
interior view with furniture in OSB panels

children's and youth center in a former signal tower 7
furniture details

children and youth center in a former signal tower 8
inside view

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first floor

first floor

upper floor

upper floor

section

section

project info:

Last name: children’s and youth center in a former signal tower

site: Wiesbaden, Germany
architecture: A-Z Architects

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edited by: lynne myers | design boom

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