The Walzmühle site in Frauenfeld is one of the most important industrial sites in the canton of Thurgau. The idyllic location on the Murg River and the short walk from the city centre allow for a wide range of uses from residential to commercial space; there are also local recreation facilities in the immediate area around the site.
The Walzmühle site is located in the northern part of Frauenfeld, directly on the Murg River. With approximately 15’000 square metres of land area, the site offers architectural diversity in a small area.
The site is composed of various buildings that all have a different architectural concept. The existing shed hall is being replaced by terraced lofts. The protected historical north façade is being integrated into the project. The protected historical central building captivates with its open wooden supporting structure, which will be preserved as far as possible. The new usage with rental and office space takes this into account.
The Walzmühle building, which is also a protected historic site and the most important architectural landmark at the site, convinces with its bright, generously-sized rooms and the southern-facing orientation. The building is being converted into 21 condominiums that will make full use of the qualities of the building. The south side of the site offers a large no-building zone along the Murg River. It is ideally located between the building complexes and forms a natural transition to the neighbouring land parcels.
The current design plan allows a great deal of leeway in possible uses. Residential uses and selective commercial uses are therefore planned to the greatest possible extent.
The city of Frauenfeld is the capital of the canton of Thurgau. It is the centre of a large agglomeration and home to 24’000 people.
Frauenfeld was created as a fortified provincial settlement in the 13th century - the beginning of construction of the Frauenfeld castle can be dated back to 1230 using the wooden beams that are still in place today. The settlement, whose name was first documented in 1246, was created directly next to the castle at the end of the 13th century. Already in 1286, Frauenfeld was referred to as a city. Around 1500, Frauenfeld was the meeting place of the Federal Diet of Switzerland for the first time.
Thurgau, whose cantonal capital has been Frauenfeld from 1789 on, used its autonomy to do away with the old trade and commercial restrictions and clear the way for the extremely successful industrialisation in the 19th and first half of the 20th century.
Today, many buildings - such as the Walzmühle site - remain as monuments to Thurgau's pioneers of industrialisation and have undergone an exemplary transformation. Thanks to the high standards in residential and living space, Frauenfeld is still attracting technologically innovative and service companies and is considered to be a community with an eye on the future.
The Walzmühle site has an idyllic location on the Murg River and is home to a charming industrial complex. The city centre of Frauenfeld can be reached in a few minutes by foot.
of the site is used for recreation and public use
terraced single family lofts are being built - a completely new product on the Frauenfeld housing market
The Walzmühle site has been divided into three different project sections. The first project section, called "Shed", involves the gentle renovation of the existing brick building. Workshop, retail and storage spaces will be offered here. The Shed hall is also being replaced by 8 terraced single-family lofts, accessible via an underground carpark with 70 parking spaces.
The Central Building part of the project calls for the conversion of the existing building into rental units and office space. The charm of the existing wooden structure will be largely preserved.
The Walzmühle building, which is the most distinctive building at the site, is being converted into 21 condominiums. The southern-facing location with a clear view over the no-building zone directly in front of the Murg offers a unique ambiance.
The Murg River to the south of the city of Frauenfeld was decisive in the choice of the Walzmühle site. Already used in the middle ages to produce energy, the founder of the Walzmühle company, Josef Anton Müller, also saw the banks of the Murg as the ideal site for his mill. The mill owner, a former privy counsellor to the Russian tsar who was living in Warsaw at the time, had a vision: a mill with a completely new grinding method. Instead of two flat mill stones lying on top of one another, counter-rotating steel rollers with fine grooves would grind the dry grain. He used a trip to his native country to win over investors for his vision, so that after founding the Walzmühle company, he was soon able to build the castle-like five-storey milling building with two wings.
When Josef Anton Müller died unexpectedly in 1833, the factory building had just been completed, the Murg canal dug and the 24 horsepower-strong iron waterwheel assembled - but the rollers, in which the grist was to be crushed and ground, were not working. The technically skilled factory director and shareholder Johann Jakob Sulzenberger managed to get the rollers and the factory working. The result was very progressive for the time: two rolling mills produced 500 kg of flour per hour. 100 people were hired. The success was only short-lived, however, as a crop failure in 1847 paralysed the mill.
The mill pressed on until 1872. After a five-year vacancy, a snuff factory rented the Walzmühle site from 1877 to 1904. The gradual liberalisation at the beginning of the 20th century boosted industrialisation along the Murg and the Walzmühle site experienced a new revival: in 1917, the aluminium goods company Ferdinand Sigg, which was taken over by Alu Menziken AG in 1936, established its business premises there. Until 1995, the company manufactured their well-known drink cans, among other things, at the Walzmühle site with turbine power and built other buildings for the production of aluminium goods at the site. Due to the transfer of the business to a new building close by, the Walzmühle site, with a total of 1.5 hectares of surface area and the existing buildings, was taken over by Walzmühle Immobilien AG in 1995. Amid the historic surroundings, the new owner created a place with various uses at the site: in 2000, small business and storage areas as well as residential lofts were created in the northern section.
Since the purchase of the idyllic site in the summer of 2013 by HIAG, new life will be breathed into the buildings in the coming years and the Walzmühle site in Frauenfeld redeveloped.
The Walzmühle site is currently home to an interesting mix of tenants who will mostly stay on after the conversion. The charm of the building reflects the creative environment and the structure of the tenants.
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Thorsten Eberle Site Redeveloper
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