Housing Development, Färberei-Areal

Four new buildings were planned for the site of the former “Färberei”, or textiledyeing factory, to be constructed in successive stages in order to establish an ensemble together with the refurbished “Blue Factory”. This former industrial area is thus gradually developing into an urban residential, commercial, and office district. The elongated, cubic buildings are set into the hillside like a fan, creating flowing interim spaces that expand to form plazas. The colors of the buildings were developed during the various construction phases in collaboration with the artist Harald F. Müller.

House 1

In the long, five-story House 1, constructed parallel to the steep slope that descends down to the lake, 35 apartments are arranged in a variable mix of 3.5 to 7.5 rooms. The two floors adjacent to the Blue Factory hold flexibly dividable office spaces, while a day-care center is provided on the ground floor.

A characteristic of the single-story apartments is the arrangement of the rooms around a central living and dining area, with a connection to the kitchen. Each apartment possesses two loggias that are integrated into the building volume and extend the continuous living space toward the lake and to the south. Floor-toceiling windows enhance the sense of spaciousness. These let southern light into the rooms and provide vistas over Lake Zurich to the north and the lakeshore opposite. The outdoor spaces in the penthouses are designed as large patios that not only open to the façade, but also to the sky. Due to the hillside location, the typology changes to duplex apartments on the two lower floors. Here, the daytime area with living and dining rooms and kitchen extends over the entire depth of the upper floor, while the nighttime area with bedrooms facing the lake is situated on the ground floor.

The grid pattern of the monolithic load-bearing exposed concrete structure defines the exterior. The concrete surfaces of the façade are washed in white, while a metallic note is introduced for the components in the façade openings: in the wood-aluminum window frames, in the blinds, and in the glass parapets’ subtly reflective surfaces. Glossy silver paint was used for the elevator cores, while the concrete walls of the staircases are painted a matt yellow-green in some areas, and treated with a transparent glaze in others.

House 2 and 3

In the concluding phase of development, two further buildings, with a small park set in front, will complete the ensemble in the northwestern part of the site. In house 2 the emphasis is on smaller, low-cost rental apartments for families, while house 3 focuses on providing housing suitable for older people.

In order to make the most of the sunny southwestern side of the building, which is however exposed to noise, single-story apartments were created for house 2 with a living, cooking, and dining area that runs through the entire depth of the building but which is set at an angle. This floor plan produces a varied assortment of 48 apartments ranging in size from 2.5 to 4.5 rooms. The bathrooms, ancillary areas, and circulation cores are arranged in the central part of each apartment, dividing the living area into two spaces of equal size and hence offering flexible use. In the eastern part of the building the upward slope of the site makes it possible to offer duplex apartments on the ground floor. At the western tip of the building, facing the square, rooms for public use are incorporated into the design.

The compact footprint of house 3 allows for five 2.5- to 5.5-room apartments on each floor. Two apartments are open to the exterior on one side, facing southwest, and two wrap around the corner of the building on the southeast side. The fifth apartment, oriented toward three sides, is located on the northwest side of the building. This floor-plan configuration, incorporating apartments of differing sizes on each floor, coupled with a care facility at ground level, responds primarily to the needs of older residents.

The exterior of both residential blocks uses light beige and pebble-gray glazes. These subdued tones are complemented by brighter colors in the interior stairwells, which are lit from above via skylights.

House 5

A site in the southwestern portion of the plot, near the railway tracks and sloping down on two sides, was chosen for a six-story building with eleven condominiums. A range of variously configured single-level units was developed for this building, complemented by specially designed penthouse and duplex apartments. On the upper floors the apartments open to the exterior on three, or even four, sides, affording vistas both over the lake and to the mountain panorama in the south. Due to the steep slope of the site, the apartments on the lower stories are open only on the side facing the lake to the northeast. The design nonetheless incorporates generously proportioned outside areas for all apartments: the two upper apartments enjoy large roof terraces thanks to the slanted form of the building volume, while elsewhere in the building the apartments include either one or two loggias depending on size. In addition, the two ground-level apartments have external seating areas.

Accentuating the play of light in the stairwell, the inner-facing longitudinal wall is painted gold from the top to the bottom of the building, complemented in the entrance area by a pink-painted portion on the facing wall. The load-bearing monolithic exposed concrete façade structure is finished in a brown glaze, while all cutouts in the building volume and all façade openings, loggias, and roof terraces are left unpainted. A subtle golden anodized finish is utilized on the exterior for the wood and aluminum window frames.

Location Thalwil, Switzerland

Programme 114 apartments with partly public uses, offices, underground parking, 190 parking spaces
House 1: 5-storey new building, 35 apartments with 3.5–7.5 rooms, 900 m2 of flexibly divisible office space on two floors
House 2 & 3: Two 5-storey new buildings, House 2: 48 apartments with 2.5–4.5 rooms
House 3: 20 apartments with 2.5–5.5 rooms, ground floor: space for public use
House 5: 6-storey new building, 11 condominiums, 3.5–6.5 rooms

Competition 1998, 1st Prize

Commission House 2 & 3: 2008

Planning/Construction House 1 & 5: 2005–2008
House 2 & 3: 2008–2012

Client House 1: Weidmann Management AG, Thalwil
House 2 & 3: Ornak AG, Thalwil
House 5: Lerch Immobilien AG, Winterthur

Gross Floor Area Total: 31'033 m2
House 2: 10‘650 m2
House 3: 4‘450 m2
House 5: 3'183 m2
House 1: 12'750 m2

Team G/G Michael Winklmann (Team Manager)
House 2 & 3: Cornelia Schmidt (Projekt Manager from 2010), Lucía Gratz, Anna Dreykluft, Ingo Brinkmann, Daniela Bergmann, Martin Schiess, Meret Morgenthaler, Martin Bischofberger, Christoph Dober, Alex Zeller, Griet Aesaert, Daniel Trepte
House 5: Ilka Tegeler (Projekt Manager), Ingo Brinkmann, Reto Killer
House 1: Esther Righetti, Marius Baumann, Stine Henckel Schultz, Hiroaki Tanaka

Total Contractor House 1: Karl Steiner AG, Zurich
House 2 & 3: HRS Real Estate AG, Zurich
House 5: Bauengineering.com AG, Zurich

Landscape Architecture Schweingruber Zulauf, Zurich

Structural Engineer House 1 & 5: Dr. Lüchinger + Meyer Bauingenieure AG, Zurich
House 2 & 3: Synaxis AG, Zurich

Electrical Engineer House 1 & 5: Elkom Partner AG, Chur
Haus 2 & 3: R+B engineering AG, Zurich

Building Services Engineer HL Technik, Schaffhausen

Building Physics Engineer Wichser Akustik & Bauphysik AG, Zurich

Colours Harald F. Müller, Öhningen, Germany

Photos House 1: © Lucas Peters
House 2, 3, 5: © Thies Wachter

House 1

House 2 and 3

House 5

Two Houses in Zurich

Building upon the steep, former garden with compact volumes follows the pattern of the neighbouring detached houses and apartment buildings from the first half of the 20th century. An access ramp as wide as the house, forming a forecourt and space for parking, connects each respective building with the street above. The houses are not specifically tailored to the current owners; rather, they are buildings universal in nature that could also just as easily operate for other living conditions and inhabitants. They can be separated into two duplex apartments of nearly equal size, or they allow – within the current spatial order – the use of a separate small apartment. Further space divisions or the installation of an elevator are also possible.

In the interior, it is a case of raw structure throughout. The walls and ceilings are covered with a skim-coated white plaster, though left unpainted. The “floorings” are made of sealed gypsum subflooring (anhydrite). Wide sliding doors made from wooden panels allow variations in the spatial relationships.

The load-bearing construction consists of concrete floor slabs, masonry, and concrete walls below grade. The exterior stucco, applied to the mineral based insulation, is simply a base screed layer of lime cement. The way of applying the stucco with a broom – indeed, with the structure of a base layer - underlines the sense of rough construction and, in addition, is able to give expression to the “textile-like” character of the facade's construction.

Large windows with black metal frames are set into the facade like grand “optical instruments”. Towards the west, where one has a view of the city, they are placed in a dense row, while they appear solitarily on the remaining facades. The recessed roof level opens up to the terraces with large window fronts in aluminium. In contrast to the complex, dark, lime cement colour tones of the stucco, the protective coating on the wooden surfaces of the doors and gates is kept in clear, glowing spectral colours.

Like the former allotment gardens, the garden remains planted with fruit and nut trees. Field grasses are seeded inbetween. In the steeper, western part of the parcel, hazelnut and blackberry bushes continue the moderate wilderness in a nearly unchanged form.

Location Zurich, Switzerland

Programme Two detached houses, each with a secondary annex

Feasibility Study 1995

Planning/Construction 1997–1998

Client private

Gross Floor Area House A: 476 m2
House B: 473 m2

Team G/G Annette Gigon, Mike Guyer, Michael Widrig (Project Manager), Michael Bucher

Construction Management Annette Gigon / Mike Guyer Architects, Zurich
Collaborator: Michael Widrig

Landscape Architecture Dieter Kienast, Thomas Steinmann, Zurich

Structural Engineer Aerni + Aerni Ingenieure AG, Zurich

Colours Harald F. Müller, Öhningen, Germany

Photos © Heinrich Helfenstein

Award Auszeichnung für gute Bauten der Stadt Zürich, 2001

Housing Development Zellweger-Areal

The Zellweger complex, set on a former industrial site, boasts outstanding landscape features. Two large ponds, originally created to generate energy from hydropower, a stretch of river, and a park-like area with mature trees define the site. The site is demarcated by the pond Zellweger-Weiher and the Aabach stream. Two residential buildings of differing heights are positioned here in alignment with the promenade of plane trees by the pond in the north and the tree-lined course of the stream in the southeast. The two buildings create an L-shaped green area between them, opening up to the west onto a group of trees and an existing high-rise office building.

Broad paths lead to the buildings through the open garden area, beneath which the garage is located. Pines are planted on the gently contoured lawn like green sculptures. The private front gardens at ground level are set off from the public green areas with spruce wood fences. These are framed by open, elegant concrete structures that also provide parking spaces for bicycles and contain mailboxes and shafts providing natural ventilation for the underground garage.

The northern eight-story building along Weiherallee contains 74 rental apartments, a bistro, two nurseries and a day care club. The building on the new Zellwegerweg, set along the Aabach, ranges from three to five stories in height and houses 61 rental apartments along with a multi-purpose common room. Most of the apartments in both buildings have living/dining/kitchen areas that extend through the building, opening onto both the green inner courtyard and the pond or stream. The principle of the living/dining room extending from front to back was articulated differently in the two buildings. In the building on Zellwegerweg the space narrows in the middle to form an entrance area and then widens again to either side to form distinct zones for the living room and eat-in kitchen at opposite ends of the apartment. The rooms are arranged around the periphery of this central space. In the building on Weiherallee the entrance area provides access to the rooms and leads to the living/dining room that runs across the apartment. The subtle angling of the balconies offers outdoor areas of varying depths and provides a formal echo to the large-scale angled sections of the two buildings, adding a lively and sculptural touch to the volumes of these two housing ensembles.

The façades are articulated by layers of rhythmically offset thermally modified spruce wood planks and openwork prefabricated concrete parapets, which protrude somewhat beyond the wooden cladding to protect it from the weather. On the balconies, the concrete band projects further forward to form the parapet.

Location Uster, Switzerland

Programme Two structures in a parkway with 135 apartments, common room, bistro, day care, two nurseries, two underground parkings 149 pitches

Competition 2008, 1. Preis

Planning/Construction 2009–2013

Client Zellweger Park AG, Uster
Client’s Representative: Odinga und Hagen AG, Uster

Gross Floor Area 24‘713 m2

Team G/G Planning/Construction: Markus Seiler (Team Manager from 02/2011), Caspar Bresch (Team Manager until 02/2011), Daniela Schadegg (Project Manager), Philippe Volpe, Martin Feichtner, Lena Ehringhaus, Kristin Sasama, Karin Winklmann
Competition: Daniel Friedmann, Reto Killer, Eric Sommerlatte, Karsten Buchholz

Construction Management b+p baurealisation ag, Zurich

Landscape Architecture Hager Partner AG, Zurich

Structural Engineer Schnetzer Puskas Ingenieure AG, Zurich

Building Services Engineer Ernst Basler + Partner AG, Zurich

Building Physics Engineer Mühlebach Partner AG, Wiesendangen

Art within Architecture Lutz / Guggisberg

Photos © Shinkenchiku-sha
© Roman Keller

Award Architektur Preis Kanton Zürich 2016 – Zellweger Park, Uster
Baupreis 2013 des Architektur Forum Zürcher Oberland

Detached House on Zürichberg

The current residential building replaces a pair of 1940s semi-detached houses. The building volume is widened with three projecting sections and forms terraces through setbacks on the top level.

Two residential units have been created on four floors: a small apartment, which opens onto a front garden on the lowest floor, and a large apartment that extends over the remaining floors.

A cut-out volume on the ground floor forms the entrance area. Here a circuit connects the entry hall with the living room, the two-story dining room, and the kitchen. The double-height dining area extends up to the first floor, which is divided into two sleeping areas, each with separate bathrooms – one private area and one for guests, with scope to separate off the latter space with sliding doors. Above this, on the top floor, two similar rooms are used as study and library, each featuring its own terrace.

A central stairway structures the space; an angled stair winds between the walls to the lowest floor, and a straight stair with a deeper first step emerges from the fireplace and kitchen block and leads upwards. The upper staircase leading up to the rooftop terrace is lent transparency by offset cut-outs in the risers.

Dark oak windows, with separate ventilation sashes behind curtain-like latticework, frame and structure the range of differently proportioned openings in the various rooms. In the interior, the doors, built-in furniture, and bookshelves, in dark oak veneer or glossy white paint, complement the spatial ambience created by the chalk-colored cast concrete floors and the cream tone of the walls with their white lazure. The outer layer of the double concrete shell is also executed in beige limestone concrete. Some of the surfaces were heavily sandblasted, while others were left with a smooth formed finish.

Location Zurich, Switzerland

Programme Single-family house

Commission 2008

Planning/Construction 2008–2011

Client private

Gross Floor Area 569 m2

Team G/G Markus Seiler (Team/Project Manager), Kristin Sasama, Adréanne Pochon

Construction Management Annette Gigon / Mike Guyer Architects
in collaboration with Witzig Architekten GmbH, Zurich

Structural Engineer Aerni + Aerni Ingenieure AG, Zurich

Electrical Engineer Ernst Basler + Partner AG, Zurich

Building Physics Engineer Wichser Akustik + Bauphysik AG, Zurich

Photos © Thies Wachter

Housing Complex Villa Pax

Location Baden, Switzerland

Programme Two houses, 7 owner-occupied apartments, underground parking 15 pitches

Competition 2008, 1st Prize

Planning/Construction 2008–2011

Client private
Client's Representative: AK Bautreuhand, Zurich

Gross Floor Area 2‘275 m2

Team G/G Planning/Construction: Pit Brunner (Team/ Project Manager), Daniela Schadegg, Christoph Dober, Brigitte Rüdel
Feasibility Study: Nicolai Rünzi, Ivana Vukoja, Karsten Buchholz

Construction Management Witzig Architekten, Zurich

Landscape Architecture Balliana Schubert Landschaftsarchitekten AG, Zurich

Structural Engineer MWV Bauingenieure AG, Baden

Electrical Engineer P. Keller + Partner AG, Baden

Building Services Engineer Nanotech AG, Baden

Building Physics Engineer Mühlebach Akustik + Bauphysik, Wiesendangen

Photos © Pit Brunner

Housing Complex Zollikerstrasse

The impressive existing trees on the site of the former villa – a copper beech, a redwood, and a pine tree – influenced the architecture of the replacement buildings in several ways. The trees had an impact on the position, shape, materials, and also the colors of the new structures, calling for a specific architectural reaction to the immediate surroundings.

The new built volume is much larger than the previous building and is divided into two units. An unusually narrow space establishes a visual connection between the shady garden beneath the trees on the street side and the private garden to the west. The narrow interspace is widened and opened up by reflections in the façades’ glazed surfaces, which visually “duplicate” the garden.

The fulfillment of various specifications regarding noise protection, the spacing required by the building code, and also the protection of the trees’ roots calls for footprints that are not rectangular. However, an orthogonal structure is inscribed within the irregular polygons.

In total, the complex houses eight owner-occupied apartments and one studio, which differ widely in size and character. This is expressed in the number of levels, the ceiling heights, and the respective outdoor spaces. For example, the penthouses have terraces while the apartments on the first and second floors have covered loggias. The three apartments on the ground floor are duplexes, two of which feature living rooms with high ceilings and direct access to a private garden.

Large slabs of in-situ concrete define the private outdoor spaces of the groundfloor apartments. Low yew hedges, interspersed with blooming plants, form loose green divisions between the various garden spaces. The hedges also constitute green boundaries toward the street. Ferns and low shrubs cover the “forest soil” underneath the trees.

The polygonal buildings are covered with dark brown enameled glass panels that reflect the garden space like a kaleidoscope and therefore enhance the presence of the small garden. The mirrored vegetation casts a lively ornamental pattern across the façades, paying homage to the exterior painted decoration on nearby Villa Patumbah.

Location Zurich, Switzerland

Programme Two houses, 8 owner-occupied apartments, 2 studios, underground parking 14 pitches

Competition 2005, 1st Prize

Planning/Construction 2006–2011

Client Floor Owners' Association Zollikerstrasse, Zurich

Gross Floor Area 2‘896 m2

Team G/G Planning/Construction: Markus Seiler (Team Manager from 2009), Barbara Schlauri (Team Manager until 2009), Damien Andenmatten (Project Manager), Ilka Tegeler, Monica Knechtle
Competition: Monica Knechtle

Construction Management Agora Baumanagement, Zurich

Total Contractor Gross Generalunternehmung AG, Brugg

Landscape Architecture Hager Partner AG, Zurich

Structural Engineer Basler & Hofmann AG, Zurich

Electrical Engineer Ernst Basler + Partner AG, Zurich

Building Services Engineer Ernst Basler + Partner AG, Zurich

Building Physics Engineer IPA, Energieberatung und Bauphysik, Volketswil

Colours with Pierre André Ferrand, Geneva/ La Chaux-de-Fonds

Photos © Thies Wachter
© Shinkenchiku-sha, Tokyo

Detached House, Küsnacht

The tree-framed garden of an old villa forms the building site of the new family home. The geometry of the garden plot, the existing trees including a magnificent cedar, and the steep terrain dictate a polygonal structure which rises in tiers up the slope. The entrance and garage form the basement level with terrace, topped by two stories and an attic level.

A generously proportioned multi-angular staircase with a wide wellhole links all four levels not only physically, but also optically and acoustically: from the entrance hall to the children’s rooms, the living area, and the parents’ bedroom. The living/dining room is on the second floor and benefits from its elevated position, while the children’s rooms on the first floor have direct access to the garden, and the parents’ bedroom on the top level has its own large rooftop terrace.

In collaboration with the artist Harald F. Müller and the family, certain internal surfaces have been painted in strong colors. The ceilings in the children’s rooms are bright orange and gold, one wall of the parents’ bedroom is light blue, the wall beneath the skylight in the living room is black, and the ceiling above the large stairwell is an orangey-red.

The dark terrazzo floors throughout the house give the various rooms an overall muted coloration and establish a correlation with the concrete used for the support structure, whose load-bearing external concrete shell forms the façade. Internal masonry walls are not load-bearing and conceal the insulation.

Due to the texture of the vertical rough planking used as formwork and the deep reveals of the window openings, the exposed concrete façade gains a striking physical presence. This underlines the structure’s sturdiness against the slope. The white scumble on the surface of the concrete emphasizes with delicate tonal nuances the play of shadows across the surfaces and perforations. The glazed parapet has a slightly reflective finish to afford privacy while also mirroring the trees in the garden.

Location Küsnacht, Switzerland

Programme Single-family house

Commission 2005

Planning/Construction 2005–2007

Client private

Gross Floor Area 430 m2

Team G/G Marjana Sigrist (Project Manager), Caspar Bresch, Florian Isler

Landscape Architecture Robin Winogrond Landschaftsarchitekten, Zurich

Structural Engineer Dr. Lüchinger + Meyer Bauingenieure AG, Zurich

Electrical Engineer Elkom Partner AG, Chur

Building Services Engineer 3-Plan Haustechnik AG, Winterthur

Building Physics Engineer Wichser Akustik & Bauphysik AG, Zurich

Colours Harald F. Müller, Öhningen, Germany

Photos © Filippo Simonetti
© Lucas Peters
© Harald F. Müller

Detached House, Canton Grisons

The house is located on a steep slope below the village. A wide bridge leads to it from the street above, forming a level courtyard and a parking area.

The building form is defined by the mountain community’s strict building code, which stipulates the height and a pitched roof oriented toward the village church. The ridge of the roof runs parallel to the incline and the house is cantilevered toward the valley, seemingly suspended over the slope. With the façades and the roof uniformly clad in brownish-red copper shingles, the structure blends in with the timber buildings of the village. As a complete rain screen, the cladding allows for a reduced, contemporary formal vocabulary.

The topography is also reflected in the interior. Under the slanted roof, the living/dining room reaches a height of seven meters, and staggered mezzanine levels follow the sloping hillside. The central staircase links all four mezzanine levels with a single flight of stairs each. Wide floor-to-ceiling sliding doors allow generous connections between the spaces as well as closing them off at night.

The load-bearing structure consists of pre-fabricated timber elements filled with thermal insulation and protected from the weather by the rear-ventilated copper shingling. The inner surfaces of the timber panels are whitewashed. Pivot windows of uniform size appear to be scattered across the façade at random, but they actually reflect the spatial layout of the interior. The tall viewing window offers a spectacular vertical panorama down into the valley, across to the hills, and up the mountains on the other side.

The site remains nearly untouched by the house, with wild grasses now growing again all around, seamlessly joining the neighboring pastures. The only intervention is a level deck cut into the hillside to the west.

Location Canton Grisons, Switzerland

Programme Single Family Home

Commission 2004

Planning/Construction 2005–2007

Client private

Gross Floor Area 230 m2

Team G/G Annette Gigon, Mike Guyer, Christian Maggioni (Planning, Construction, Construction Manager)

Construction Management Annette Gigon / Mike Guyer Architekten, Zurich

Structural Engineer Bruno Patt, Zurich

Electrical Engineer Elkom Partner AG, Chur

Heating/Cooling Remo Collenberg, Chur

Plumbing Marco Felix, Chur

Photos © Ralph Feiner

Housing Development Goldschlägi

The Goldschlägi site is located adjacent to the railway station in the center of Schlieren. The site borders a wide stretch of railway track to the north and a green space to the south that serves as a vista and access area for the apartments. The elongated, narrow residential buildings emphasize the orientation of the plot parallel to the tracks, but rigidity is alleviated by their offset alignment. The height of the complex varies between three and six floors, resulting in a division of the overall volume that creates differentiated outdoor spaces.

The urban concept is reflected in the individual apartment types. Those rooms in which noise level is of less relevance, such as the access cores, kitchens, and bathrooms, are located on the north, facing the tracks. All living rooms and bedrooms, as well as the generously proportioned, projecting balconies, face south over the garden area. Their staggered positioning provides residents with an outdoor space one or two stories high. The parapets and the side elements are composed of colored glass panels that ensure privacy and cast bright blue shadows when the sun shines.

The complex is divided into 105 apartments with different floor plans and of varying sizes ( with 1, 2, or 3 bedrooms ). All have one open-plan living / dining / kitchen area that is naturally lit from both sides. The kitchen and bathroom form one module in each unit, and a large number of different floor plans have been generated through its alternate siting.

The projecting and recessed façades facing the tracks have been finished in a bright red. The black-framed windows of various sizes and division – belonging to the kitchens, bathrooms, dining areas, and staircases – create a rhythmic pattern. The south-facing façades and the end walls are of white plaster, with the window frames and sunblinds executed here in anodized aluminum.

Concrete floor slabs cast in-situ and prefabricated concrete supports give the complex a regular structure. Bracing is achieved by means of the stairwells and the external end walls. The concrete structure is encased in large, prefabricated and insulated timber elements, clad with a rear-ventilated and plastered façade. Using frame construction throughout and avoiding load-bearing internal walls wherever possible has ensured a high degree of flexibility with regard to the floor plans.

Location Schlieren, Switzerland

Programme Two buildings with varying heights (3 to 6 storeys); 105 rented apartments, different typologies and sizes (2.5-, 3.5- and 4.5-room apartments), less noise sensitive rooms orientated towards the tracks; living accomodation / bedrooms and balconies face the green space to the south; underground parking

Competition 2005, 1st Prize
in collaboration with Halter Generalunternehmung AG

Planning/Construction 2005–2009

Client Migros Pensionskasse Immobilien, Zurich

Gross Floor Area 16‘693 m2

Competition Organzier Schweizerische Bundesbahnen SBB, Zurich

Team G/G Planning/Construction: Markus Seiler (Team Manager), Martin Bischofberger (Project Manager), Rolf-Werner Wirtz, Florian Isler, Daniel Trepte, Kristin Sasama, Sebastian Beck, Daniela Bergmann
Competition: Gilbert Isermann

Total Contractor Halter Generalunternehmung AG, Zurich

Landscape Architecture Rotzler Krebs Partner AG, Landschaftsarchitekten BSLA, Winterthur

Structural Engineer ARP André Rotzetter+Partner AG, Baar

Electrical Engineer R+B engineering AG, Zurich

Building Services Engineer Project: HL-Technik AG, Schaffhausen
Execution: Turrin Engineering, Hegnau

Building Physics Engineer Raumanzug GmbH, Zurich

Timber Engineer Josef Kolb AG, Uttwil

Colours Harald F. Müller, Öhningen, Germany

Photos © Harald F. Müller
© Lucas Peters

Housing Development Erlenhof

This residential complex, constructed on a former industrial site beside the ‘Oberwasserkanal’, a bypass canal of the Limmat River in Dietikon, gives the emerging district its first truly urban note. Three large built volumes are set above a shared basement level to create a slightly raised courtyard open to the water. Pentagonal ground plans with corresponding gabled façades characterize these volumes. The heart of the ensemble is the courtyard with its large alder trees, which also gives the complex its name (Erlenhof: Courtyard of the Alders). Hornbeam hedges line the perimeter of each of the private gardens outside the ground-floor apartments and articulate the shared outdoor areas. Short flights of steps lead from this part of the ensemble to the promenade along the canal. Rows of trees along the surrounding streets mediate between interior and exterior of the complex; they are the first step in developing a future garden city. This notion also underpins the color scheme for the street-facing façades, which are rendered in a vibrant green that shapes the mood and identity of this pioneering project in what is still an industrial setting. In contrast, the courtyard is transformed into a luminous, light-filled space by pure white façades, with the alders outlined against this backdrop.

Entrance to the buildings is either directly from the street or via passages between the retaining walls of the raised front gardens and continuing up single-flight, well-lit stairways to the courtyard and the apartments. The light here takes on a red hue created by reflections from the paint on the underside of the stairs, contrasting with the green façade on the street and the white space of the courtyard.

The 85 apartments utilize a range of different floor plans to take advantage of the orientation and positioning of the various housing units. The condominiums in Block 1 are configured with loggias set in front of south-facing living rooms and adjacent kitchens, while the other rooms face north. Block 2 comprises rental accommodation of varying proportions, including apartments that open to the exterior on two or three sides. In Block 3 living rooms incorporating open-plan kitchens run through the entire depth of the building, with other rooms grouped around this space, allowing the apartments to open both to the south and onto the courtyard. The gently slanted roofs create high-ceilinged penthouse apartments. Recessed loggias provide each apartment with an outdoor area protected from the weather, while the size and number of the windows are maximized to ensure that all the apartments are flooded with light irrespective of the room depth.

Solid concrete construction was used for the buildings, with load-bearing and bracing cross walls and flat floor slabs formed from in-situ concrete. The façades are finished in plastered external thermal insulation, the basement level in exposed concrete. The slightly slanted roofs feature extensive planted areas.

Location Dietikon, Switzerland

Programme 3 buildings with 55 rented apartments, 30 individually owned apartments, 480 m2 studio space, underground parking

Competition 2005, 1st Prize

Planning/Construction 2006–2009

Client Development Houses 1, 2, 3: Halter Entwicklungen, Zurich
Client House 2 (Rental Apartments): PV-Promea, Schlieren
Client Houses 1 and 3 (Condominiums): Wohnbaugenossenschaft Blumenrain, Zurich
c/o Baumgartner Knobel & Partner, Treuhandgesellschaft

Gross Floor Area 18'890 m2

Team G/G Planning/Construction: Marjana Sigrist (Team Manager until planning application), Michael Winklmann (Team Manager from planning application), Matthias Clivio (Project Manager), Martin Bischofberger, Karin Schultze, Cornelia Schmidt, Daniel Trepte, Daniela Bergmann
Competition: Matthias Clivio

Total Contractor Halter Generalunternehmung, Zurich

Landscape Architecture Schweingruber Zulauf Landschaftsarchitekten, Zurich

Structural Engineer Basler & Hofmann AG, Zurich

Electrical Engineer R+B engineering AG, Zurich

Building Services Engineer 3-Plan Haustechnik AG, Winterthur

Building Physics Engineer Kopitsis Bauphysik AG, Wohlen

Colours Harald F. Müller, Öhningen, Germany

Photos © Lucas Peters