The idle paper mill at the northern edge of Cham will be turned into a new quarter. Surrounded by forests and meadows before production began in the steadily growing industrial area 360 years ago, the spatial gap between the city and the “Papieri” site has slowly closed. Recent relocation of production to Italy has given the local population an opportunity to make new use of the area.
The boiler house is the most prominent identity-defining building on entering the “Papieri” quarter. As before, it occupies a central position on the premises of the former paper mill. The distinctive, listed 1950s building used to supply the entire paper mill with power generated by vaporisation of water. The house continues to fulfil this fundamental function as a catalyst even after the change of use. Where steam was turned into energy, the redevelopment site is activated by a conversion reduced to the essential. Light-weight construction elements made of steel and glass are integrated in the existing structure to accommodate various uses. The in-between space offers additional room for working, crafting and relaxing. A lot of glass, airy crossings made of fine grating and floor cut-outs open up the view to the top architecturally and permit the incidence of light. This open style of construction leaves the large dimensions of the boiler house clearly legible and reminds of the former function of the hall.
The existing connections between the two boiler rooms are integrated and serve as the starting point for a programme incorporating the entire building. Office units are flexible making it possible to turn single rooms into individual offices or to use the whole house as a coworking space. The coworking platforms can also be used for events. An open salon is provided as a meeting place after work, for mingling with the locals who can use the space for a diversity of local activities. There is a Coal Bar in the former raised silo for special occasions. The gates on the ground floor are open to allow the various utilisations to spill out. The open salon makes use of an outside space towards the south, ideal for festivities and markets. This permits the boiler house to remain an active identity-generating landmark of the “Papieri”. The boiler house breathes new life into the “Kesselplatz” in front of it, which is characterised by an established distinctive ensemble of a variety of different witnesses to the industrial past.