Inner-city living, Zurich, 3rd rank

prequalified competition
PWG Foundation
BHSF Architekten
Landscape Architecture
Lorenz Eugster Landschaftsarchitektur und Städtebau, Zürich
Also Involved
Visualization: Adrian König
Competition Period

The competition brief represents a typical case for the inner densification of Zurich that is presently strongly discussed. Also, the foundation PWG has as its core task to provide affordable living space in the city of Zurich. Our design continues the unpretentious urban design of the everyday quarter, regarding the urban figure as well as the exterior spaces: Restrained architecture and flexible pragmatism are effective means to densify and further develop quarters such as Zurich-Altstetten.

The site is situated in an ensemble of simple, mostly longitudinal buildings. Our design re-interprets these long buildings in the existing context. To get better lighting for the individual flats, the facade is divided into several parts with differing depths. Also, a slanted roof is proposed to strengthen the volumetric semblance to the existing buildings.

Given the context and the target to save costs, a radical move was made to provide no underground parking garage – making the project extremely cost-effective. While the western side is largely kept green, the exterior spaces on the eastern side are kept in a more mineral way. The latter areas are openly connected to the common rooms in the basement floor and the two entrances to the building.

The ground floor plans are created very compact and aim towards an efficient use of the square meters that can be realized on the site. The staircases connect to 3 to 4 flats and are minimized to generate as much space for apartments as possible. Inside the apartments, the large kitchen space serves as the connector to all of the other rooms of the building and can be used as the main living space as well, providing maximal flexibility of the flats. Because of the volumetric concept, all of the flats are lightened from three to fours sides and have different views towards the exterior space.

The building is executed as a conventional solid construction in insulated brick. The facades are painted with a simple, two-colored pattern. Through this, the complex volume is quietened and a complex rhythm introduced in a cost-effective way. Through these measures, the volume, which is quite prominently placed in the middle of a courtyard-like setting, does not impose too much on its surroundings.