Housing Complex Diggelmannstrasse

The small-scale and heterogeneous structure to be found in Zurich’s Albisrieden residential district was the reason for dividing up the projected volume into several units. The multiple occupancy buildings with their polygonal volumes and varied footprints are grouped together on one plot. The materials used provide a common link, with the overall color scheme defining the buildings as a group, but also differentiating them and establishing a correlation with the surrounding built environment.

Access to both buildings in the north is gained directly from the street at basement level. A path leads to the building behind, to the south. It forms part of a star-like figure made of large slabs set in a continuous stretch of lawn. Deciduous trees accentuate the open space and provide shady areas for relaxation.

The apartments have between 2 and 4 bedrooms and varied, polygonal floor plans. Generously-sized balconies facing different directions lead off the living areas. The amount of direct sunlight and the degree of privacy required on the balconies can be ‘adjusted’ using curtains. The kitchens can be left open to the livingdining areas or closed with sliding doors.

The façades are articulated by alternating bands of windows and sill-height walls, which link the projecting balconies and recessed roof terraces to form one entity. The rear-ventilated cladding of colored, enameled glass sheets alternates with translucent glazed panels of the same color around the balconies and terraces.

The color scheme was devised in close cooperation with the artist Adrian Schiess. The two colors selected for the smaller buildings closer to the road are a yellowish-green up to sill height and a purple shade for the wall areas between the windows. A combination of pink and beige was chosen for the larger building in the garden to the south. The overlapping reflections across the colored glazed panels interweave not only the ‘color layers’ of the buildings, but also the neighboring structures, trees, and the color of the sky to form part of the optical impression created.

Location Zurich, Switzerland

Programme 3 multiple occupancy blocks of apartments with 18 rental units, cellars and underground parking

Competition 2003, 1st Prize

Planning/Construction 2004–2007

Client Gemeinschaftsstiftung der Zellweger Luwa AG, Uster
represented by Hesta Immobilien AG, Zurich

Gross Floor Area 4‘234 m2

Team G/G Planning/Construction: Pit Brunner (Team Manager), Katja Schubert (Project Manager until 04/2007), Matthias Clivio (Project Manager from 04/2007), Gaby Kägi
Competition: Katja Schubert

Construction Management Witzig Architekten GmbH, Zurich

Total Contractor HRS, Hauser Rutishauser Suter AG, Zurich

Landscape Architecture Schweingruber Zulauf Landschaftsarchitekten, Zurich

Structural Engineer Henauer Gugler AG, Zurich

Building Services Engineer HL-Technik AG, Zurich

Building Physics Engineer Mühlebach Akustik + Bauphysik, Wiesendangen

Colours Adrian Schiess, Zurich and Mouans-Sartoux, France

Photos © Andrea Helbling

Housing Development Brunnenhof

The former, noise-exposed three-story apartment buildings owned by the Foundation for Large Families in Zurich have been replaced by two slightly angled, elongated volumes of different heights. The larger, six-story building follows Hofwiesenstrasse but is oriented toward the park, which it shields from the street and hence from traffic noise. The smaller, four- to five-story building on Brunnenhofstrasse is in a certain sense within the park, surrounded by green on both sides with its height corresponding to that of the neighboring buildings. Both buildings are conceived as ‘stacks’ of horizontal slabs which cantilever to varying degrees and form generous balconies on the park side.


For the noise-affected building on Hofwiesenstrasse, access to the apartments is via longitudinally arranged staircases and spacious entryways that adjoin the eat-in kitchens. All bedrooms face the quiet park side and are connected by a projecting balcony. The living rooms extend through the apartment, facing both east and west and giving onto the park-side balconies.

Within the smaller Brunnenhofstrasse building, the living rooms are positioned along the façade and look onto the park to the south and southeast via adjoining balcony areas. In the four-story north- and south-facing part of the building, the eat-in kitchens are connected to the living rooms on the south side, while in the angled part of the building the kitchens enjoy the evening sun.

A circuit-like layout grants all apartment types spaciousness, freedom of movement for both children and adults, and enhanced flexibility of use. The latter is further augmented in the ground floor apartments by means of extra rooms between them that can be used by either apartment. The entrance lobbies on the ground floor are connecting rooms that link to the park and provide space for strollers, scooters, and toys. The naturally lit laundry and drying rooms are located in the basement, adjacent to the stairs.

A kindergarten and nursery are housed at the end of both buildings where the pathway to the park is situated. A multi-purpose common room takes the most prominent position at the corner between street and pathway. A continuous hedge along the street creates a green zone that provides the necessary privacy for the slightly elevated ground floor apartments. The park-facing apartments are elevated by half a story to allow the inclusion of a garden and play area between the park and the building. The hedges that run alongside the building approaches establish the border between these zones and the park.

The façades are formed by the balconies and the concrete bands that wrap horizontally around the building. Between them, floor-to-ceiling windows alternate with colored glass panels, joining together with sliding glass shades to create an interplay of reflecting and matt, opaque and translucent or transparent surfaces. The color concept was developed together with the artist Adrian Schiess. Facing the street, the glazing is dark blue and violet, while toward the park the tonality flows over large areas from blue tones to orange to yellow. The impression of the fluid, changing play of colors is enhanced by the varying positions of the sliding elements - ultimately the residents modify and create new color compositions every day, even every hour.

Location Zurich, Switzerland

Programme Two buildings, 72 apartments, 6 extra rooms, common room, kindergarten, day-care, underground parking with 75 parking spaces

Competition 2003, 1st Prize

Planning/Construction 2004–2007

Client Stiftung Wohnungen für kinderreiche Familien, Zurich

Gross Floor Area 18‘437 m2

Team G/G Markus Seiler (Project Manager), Lorenzo Igual, Rolf-Werner Wirtz, Ulrike Horn

Construction Management b+p baurealisation ag, Zurich

Landscape Architecture Hager Landschaftsarchitektur AG, 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 Lemon Consult GmbH, Zurich

Colours Adrian Schiess, Mouans-Sartoux, France

Photos © Georg Aerni
© Hannes Henz
Filmstills: © Severin Kuhn

Housing Development Neumünsterallee

The building turns a corner at the intersection of Neumünsterallee and Signaustrasse, creating a sunny garden area between its two wings that faces southeast. In addition, portions cut out of the overall volume form small courtyards on three sides, resulting in a meandering shape that links outside and inside spaces. One of the cutouts faces the morning sun and the garden, another the noonday sun and the avenue of plane trees, and the third the evening sun and the gardens of the villas opposite. Bridge-like balconies frame the courtyards, emphasizing the main volume of the building and, at the same time, offering views into its depths. Thanks to these ‘balcony bridges,’ the courtyards, which measure approximately 7.5 by 8.5 meters, receive daylight not only from above but from the side as well.

The apartments angle around the courtyards, thereby substantially enlarging the sense of space therein. The three main stories accommodate two 5.5-room units facing the East and West Courts and two 4.5-room units facing the South Court; the top floor holds one 4-room unit facing the East Court, one 2.5-room unit facing the West Court, and a 7-room unit facing the South Court.

The courtyards allow optimal use to be made of the building’s considerable depth, because they ensure that the living spaces as well as the kitchens and the large bathrooms can all be supplied with natural daylight. The heart of each flat is a spacious hallway. Laterally illuminated from the courtyard, it is a link between the private bedrooms and the living room. Its use is not defined, but it can function, for example, as a dining room or study, or provide space for children to play. The living room opens onto the lateral terrace and the outside and has direct access to the kitchen, which also faces the courtyard.

The ground floor is lowered slightly below street level so that a half flight of stairs and a ramp lead down to the large lobby of the building, which is illuminated from the central courtyard and provides access to the two circulation cores. There are also studios that can be accessed directly from the lobby and rented as office space or for recreational activities.

The load-bearing structure of the building consists of concrete walls and slabs. Wood/metal windows, 20-centimeter-thick thermal insulation, and plaster skim on rear-ventilated cladding slabs form the shell of the building, which meets the Minergie® (energy-saving) standard.

In collaboration with the artist Adrian Schiess, the walls in the courtyards were coated with silvery paint to ‘guide the light,’ while the outside façades are painted a darker gray. The lobby is rendered in a luminous copper color, and the spectrum of iridescent ‘light-suffused’ shades continues inside the flats, where the doors of the built-in wardrobes have been given a high-gloss, mother-of-pearl finish.

A pool of water in the central courtyard reflects the light from the sky and forms the focal point of the entrance area. The other courtyards are planted with tall, delicately leafed ash trees. The slightly staggered levels of the garden each have their own vegetation. Ground-covering evergreen shrubs and grouped bushes form together with the preserved garden wall and wrought-iron fence the traditional front garden area. The area to the southeast, designated both for adults and for children at play, consists of a grassy lawn with groups of trees.

Location Zurich, Switzerland

Programme Housing Complex as angled building volume with atriums framed by bridge-like balconies; 15 apartments, 2 studios, underground parking

Competition 2003, 1st Prize

Planning/Construction 2004–2007

Client Personalvorsorgestiftung der SV Group, Dübendorf
Client’s Representative: Daniel Nyfeler

Gross Floor Area 4‘799 m2

Team G/G Planning/Construction: Markus Lüscher Kim Sneyders (Project Manager from 2005), Markus Lüscher (Project Manager until end 2004), Lorenzo Igual, Markus Seiler
Competition: Markus Lüscher

General Contractor Karl Steiner AG, Zurich

Landscape Architecture Schweingruber Zulauf Landschaftsarchiteken, 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 Bakus Bauphysik und Akustik GmbH, Zurich

Signage Trix Wetter, Zurich

Colours Adrian Schiess, Zurich and Mouans Sartoux, France

Photos © Lucas Peters

Three Single Family Row Houses

The building, comprising three residential units, is a long, flat volume that runs parallel to the lake, to the street, and to the supporting wall in the middle of the property. Two storeys of balconies running the entire length of the façade that faces the lake include overhanging indoor rooms that extend beyond the length of the building on both sides. They underscore the orientation towards the lake of the two upper storeys.

The body of the building along with the supporting wall to the west creates a clearly defined slope-side entrance area. This is accessed by a metal staircase along the supporting wall, which is painted and overgrown with climbing plants. Overhanging volumes mark and protect the three entries, which access the units on the floor in the middle.

The building consists of two complete floors and a ground floor built into the slope, with a parking garage underneath. The living and dining areas as well as the adjoining balconies are situated on the top floor of the building to take maximum advantage of the lake view. On the floor below, in addition to the entrance, there are two large rooms of different sizes, which can be used as studies, guest rooms or bedrooms. There are two more rooms on the ground floor, which is level with the garden. The interior – kitchen, bathrooms and the arrangement of the rooms – were adapted to the needs of the respective owners.

Thanks to loadbearing outside walls and interior partitions, it was possible to individualize the floor plan of each unit. The skeleton-like layer of balconies facing Weidstrasse is concrete, the other three façades are clad in rear-ventilated panels seamlessly covered with fine-grained plaster. A metal-like iridescent silver unifies the masonry and, in combination with the naturally anodized aluminium window frames, the glass balustrades that reflect the silver, and the aluminium steamed fabric blinds, it generates an overall effect based on the play and reflection of the light. The pink of the supporting wall along the access path both contrasts and complements the over-all metallic and silver colouring of the building.

A few scattered trees are placed on the meadow in front of the building. Bushes along the borders of the lots ensure the privacy of the garden areas. Elongated bands of concrete alternate with gravel on the ground of the rear entrance space and the outdoor seating areas. The roof, planted with undulating rows of thyme in various shades of pink, optically extends the gardens of the neighbouring buildings above.

Location Rüschlikon, Switzerland

Programme Three residential units, combined in one building volume, with two storeys of projecting balconies

Competition 2002, 1st Prize

Planning/Construction 2002–2005

Client Client’s Association

Gross Floor Area 1‘200 m2

Team G/G Gaby Kägi (Competition and Project Manager)

Construction Management Karl Steiner AG, Zurich

Landscape Architecture Vogt Landschaftsarchitekten, Zurich

Structural Engineer Henauer Gugler AG, Zurich

Electrical Engineer Elkom Partner AG, Chur

Building Services Engineer 3-Plan Haustechnik AG, Winterthur

Colours Adrian Schiess, Zurich and Mouans-Sartoux, France

Photos © Heinrich Helfenstein
© Lucas Peters

Housing Complex Park Grünenberg

One of the goals of this project was to make the existing Park Grünenberg the key theme of the new housing development. Three residential buildings were set in the western area of the park, formerly a landscape garden, while the architectural section of the garden to the east, along with the listed villa (Robert Bischoff and Hermann Weideli, 1910) were preserved as is. The new volumes are arranged and formed in a manner that guarantees vistas and perspectives onto the park or the lake. In conjunction with the vegetation, these polygonal volumes give the impression of a colorful “rock garden”.

The material used for the façades and construction is concrete – or “cast stone”. The exterior concrete shells extend into cantilevered structures, forming and bearing balconies. The concrete surfaces are finely sandblasted and coated with a glaze of mineral pigments. The artist collaborating on the color scheme, Pierre André Ferrand, envisioned a different tone for each building – dark gray, ochre, and yellow – each containing the color green. The appearance of the pigments themselves is completely matt, similar to a colored powder coating. From the outside, large windows reflect the surrounding trees, the sky, and the lake, while affording sweeping views from inside the apartments.

The careful arrangement of the apartments with their varying layouts enables each to benefit from the buildings’ orientation and location. In the smallest building (A), situated to the south, two apartments share each floor, enjoying either the virtues of slightly more lake views and evening sun in summertime, or more southern light. For the larger buildings located to the east and north (B and C), a variety of apartment types ensures that each is provided with both optimal natural light and vistas to the lake. The eight different types range from single-story units oriented toward three sides, to others with a living room that extends all the way through the building, to duplexes.

In analogy to the former landscape gardens, the green areas between the buildings are dotted with scattered trees and copses. Blooming bushes and evergreen shrubs adorn and organize the green spaces and distinguish the public areas from private gardens. The pathways are laid out as light-colored concrete surfaces that broaden and narrow, their effect comparable to large, level slabs of rock within the landscape.

Location Wädenswil, Switzerland

Programme 3 residential buildings with a total of 30 condominium apartments, 10 different apartment layouts, underground parking with 78 parking spaces

Competition 2002, 1st Prize

Planning/Construction 2004–2007

Client Grünenberg Baugesellschaft
c/o Beat Odinga AG, Uster

Gross Floor Area 9‘600 m2

Team G/G Planning/Construction: Barbara Schlauri (Project Manager), Caspar Bresch, Marjana Sigrist, Juan Gonzalez
Competition: Volker Mencke

Construction Management Karl Steiner AG, Zurich

Landscape Architecture Hager Landschaftsarchitektur AG, Zurich

Structural Engineer Basler & Hofmann AG, Zurich

Electrical Engineer Innovative Elektrotechnik, Gossau Zurich

Building Services Engineer Schoch Reibenschuh AG, Nänikon

Acoustical Engineer IPA Energieberatung, Volketswil

Colours Pierre André Ferrand, Geneva/Krakow

Photos © Lucas Peters

Award Auszeichnung «Gute Bauten» der Stadt Wädenswil, 2008

Extension/Renovation of Historical Villa, Kastanienbaum

The existing, late Neoclassical villa was built in 1860 in the Italian country-house style as a summer residence within a large park overlooking Lake Lucerne. It is thought to be the work of Xaver Waller. In 1927, the villa’s interior was extensively altered and an extension was built to house the kitchen.

For the villa’s current owner, a remodeling project was developed involving various degrees of intervention. The modifications ranged from cleaning, the removal of wallpaper, repairs and restorations, to a series of individual, explicitly dialectical interventions, and finally the replacement of the kitchen annex with a new building. However, the decision was made not to reconstruct the spatial and structural characteristics of the original building.

Proposed restoration involved repairing the sandstone window surrounds, sanding and oiling the parquet flooring, and transforming some single-glazed windows into double-glazed ones using the existing wooden frames and glass. Of special note is the small room in the tower. Stripped of wallpaper, the walls here exhibited such a remarkable patina, along with a number of pencil drawings made by previous workers, that it was decided not to renovate them.

Selective interventions included the construction of a brass fireplace in the large salon and the installation of a chrome steel kitchen unit in the center of the former small salon. The renovation of the bathrooms (the original positions of which were retained) likewise belongs in this category. They were furnished with new fittings, oak flooring, and walls of etched mirrors. In the large bathroom a freestanding bathtub was specially commissioned.

The most radical intervention was the demolition of the kitchen annex, which was in poor repair. Replacing it is a garage with adjacent workshop. The annex building, the roof of which serves as a terrace, is accessible from both the house and the garden. Trellises cover the walls of the single-story concrete structure and continue up above the roof, forming a pavilion over the terrace. In this way, the annex acquires dimensions and proportions in keeping with those of the villa. Architectural features typical of nineteenth-century villa gardens, such as gazebos and coach houses, are in a sense interwoven in this structure and physically connected with the house. The villa, annex, and grounds are also linked in terms of color: the green of the villa’s sandstone is echoed in the colored concrete, and the olive-green hues of the trellis match the greenery of the park.

Location Kastanienbaum, Switzerland

Programme Private residence; restoration of the existing villa: salon with fireplace, office with furniture, bedrooms, renovation of kitchen and bathroom
Extension: garage with workshop/studio, the roof of which serves as a terrace

Commission 2002

Planning/Construction 2002–2004

Client private

Gross Floor Area 1'070 m2

Team G/G Barbara Schlauri (Project Manager)

Construction Management Ruoss Witzig Architekten, Zurich

Structural Engineer Dr. Lüchinger + Meyer Bauingenieure AG, Zurich

Electrical Engineer Bühlmann Engineering AG, Luzern

Building Services Engineer 3-Plan Haustechnik AG, Winterthur

Photos © Lucas Peters

Award Schweizer Denkmalpreis der Konferenz der Schweizer Denkmalpflegerinnen und Denkmalpfleger, 2009

Residential and Retail Building

The Dutch town of Almere is not a place that has grown successively, but was planned on a drawing board, originating after the war as polder land reclaimed from the Ijsselmeer Lake. The masterplan for the new, enlarged town center was developed by the OMA architecture studio. A striking characteristic of this city center area is an artificially raised, curved slab (‘Gebogen Maaiveld’), which connects the existing retail center with the Weerwater Lake as a new pedestrian level. Underneath this floor slab is an area for local east-west vehicular traffic, as well as for deliveries, parking, and buses. The new residential and retail building is situated at the highest point of the curved slab, where access roads lead to the ‘underworld’ of services and infrastructure.

The masterplan envisioned the combined residential and retail structure to be a high and very deep building volume with a footprint measuring 27×55 meters. With a trapezoidal floor plan that bends inward on both sides, it was possible to achieve the maximum possible amount of natural light for the residential spaces within the given perimeter. The volume does not rise up in a straight vertical line, but inclines toward the south and east while broadening as it ascends.

On the ground and first floors the retail areas are occupied by the Hema department store chain, with the second floor used as storage space. Both basement levels serve as a parking garage. Originally conceived as condominiums, a total of 72 apartments are now offered for rental over eight floors. As a result of the expansion of the building volume toward the top, larger, south-facing apartments can be offered on the higher, more desirable floors. The floor plans are largely derived from the tunnel formwork technique commonly used in the Netherlands.

On the residential floors the building form is defined by the bands of glazed balcony parapets. In plan the glazed façade of each apartment describes an obtuse angle, thereby forming triangular balcony spaces as well as providing privacy from the neighboring balconies. The jagged shape of the floor plan repeats to a lesser extent the principle followed by the greater building volume of maximizing surface area and natural light.

The façade is wrapped entirely in glass: color-enameled glazing is employed for the cladding of the ground floor, while the parapets of the apartment balconies consist of safety glass laminated with colored film. The residential areas have floor-to-ceiling windows to maximize natural light. The color concept for the building’s façades was developed in collaboration with the artist Adrian Schiess: orange for the corners facing the south and east, light green toward the pedestrian area, light blue facing north, and finally, highly reflective silver for half of the two longest, angled façades toward the north and south. The inward- and outwardslanting glazed surfaces reflect the sky and surroundings, while the obtuse-angled surfaces additionally reflect the building itself as well as the nearby exterior spaces. The immediate surroundings thus play an integral part in how the building is perceived.

Location Almere, The Netherlands

Programme Eight-storey residential and commercial building: 72 rental apartments (70–145 m2), ground floor and 1st floor: 2'700 m2 retail space, restaurant, office, storage spaces, underground parking

Competition 2002

Planning/Construction 2002–2007

Client Blauwhoed Eurowoningen, Rotterdam, The Netherlands

Gross Floor Area 14‘700 m2

Team G/G Construction: Pieter Rabijns
Tender Documentation: Volker Mencke
Preliminary/Building Project: Christof Bhend

Contact architects B + M, Den Haag, The Netherlands

Construction Management Blauwhoed Eurowoningen, Rotterdam, The Netherlands

General Contractor J.P. van Eesteren bv, Barendrecht, The Netherlands

Structural Engineer ABT bv, Arnheim, The Netherlands

Building Services Engineer Huygen Elwako bv, Rotterdam, The Netherlands

Building Physics Engineer Huygen Elwako bv, Rotterdam, The Netherlands

Colours Adrian Schiess, Zurich and Mouans-Sartoux, France

Photos © Jeroen Musch

Detached House in Zurich

Facing south, the hexagonal volume of the detached house in Zurich is inscribed within a trapezoid-shaped plot on a steep incline. An inclined volume with a slanted roof was conceived, which resulted from going to the maximum building height possible at all six corners of the building.

The main entry to the house is located on the north side underneath a large cantilever that provides a sheltered exterior space. Inside, the entrance area is arranged into zones by “space-containing” walls with an integrated wardrobe, cabinets, and guest bathroom. This allows the adjoining bedroom and study to be separated off via sliding walls, or alternatively connected into one continuous space. The children’s bedrooms are located on the lower ground floor. They are accessed via a central space that merges into the “garden room”, which can also be utilized as a guest room, playroom, or study. On the upper floor, under the slanted roof, is the main living area with an exceptionally high ceiling that rises from 2.4 to 5.2 meters. This room is also organized around a “space-containing” central wall in order to allow these zones of varying height and breadth to be utilized for living, cooking, work, and play.

On the ground floor, colored surfaces of dark green and light orange accentuate the lighting effects in each room. On the upper floor, a new color concept for the main wall is to be devised periodically. The general interplay of color and space can be observed and experienced during the course of daily life, almost as if it were an ongoing experiment. The first concept was for a bright yellow-green that reacted strongly to the light, while the second was a bright raspberry, and the current incarnation is a sprayed-on high-gloss color gradient with iridescent pigments.

The exterior walls and roof consist of load-bearing concrete. The large windows are opened by sliding them into a recess between the outer concrete and inner brick wall. To the north the windows have wide frames and are mounted flush with the wall. The concrete of the roof and the outer walls is a dark gray and a mossy green-yellow. The crossover from colored to uncolored doesn’t occur at the corners, but on the faces. Dense vegetation of blooming shrubs and berry bushes lines the borders of the property and forms a ‘clearing’ in which the green/gray building is set.

Location Zurich, Switzerland

Programme Single-family house

Commission 2001

Planning/Construction 2001–2003

Client private

Gross Floor Area 408 m2

Team G/G Markus Seiler (Project Manager), Pieter Rabijns

Construction Management Annette Gigon / Mike Guyer Architects Zurich
Collaborator: Markus Seiler

Landscape Architecture Zulauf Seippel Schweingruber, Landschaftsarchitekten, Baden

Structural Engineer Dr. Lüchinger + Meyer Bauingenieure AG, Zurich

Building Services Engineer 3-Plan Haustechnik AG, Winterthur

Colours Adrian Schiess, Zurich and Mouans-Sartoux, France

Photos © Maurice Haas
© Lucas Peters
Filmstills: © Severin Kuhn

Housing Development and Remodeling Pflegi-Areal

The quality of the building stock of the former hospital ‘Pflegerinnenschule Zürich’ indicated a clear allocation of the new functions – offices and housing – within the existing and newly constructed buildings. It was possible to retain the buildings to the southwest by Pfister Architects from 1933/34 and convert the former hospital wards into offices, while the heterogeneous hospital buildings to the northeast were replaced by housing.

Despite substantial interventions, the goal was to retain the spatial character of the large-scale facility. Akin to the former hospital building complex and the neighboring freestanding houses, the new buildings form a hybrid ensemble between a closed block development and individual building volumes.

Together with the existing buildings, the new housing complex demarcates and defines three large exterior spaces: the garden, the Samaritan Court, and the Carmen Court. The former patients’ garden, with its beautiful trees, was left almost untouched. The Samaritan Court serves as new access area for the underground parking garage and offers drop-off and parking space. The Carmen Court, in place of the former nurses’ garden and lying atop the new parking garage, now stretches across the entire length of the site. The ground here consists of fine gravel as well as large poured concrete slabs, which form a wide access path to the apartment entrances. Willows are planted in large baskets made of steel reinforcement bars and filled with stones and earth. Set atop the garage roof, these baskets form a nutrient-rich habitat as well as providing root space and acting as a counterweight for the trees.

Housing in the newly constructed buildings consists primarily of single-level apartments with generous floor plans. A total of forty-eight apartments with twenty-two different floor plan types offer 2.5 to 6.5 rooms. In addition, nine work studios were built at courtyard level. To cater to contemporary living/working constellations, some ground-level apartments are connected with the courtside studio spaces via internal stairs. Placing the ancillary and service spaces at the center of the apartments permits free circulation, while the load-bearing use of the service core allows for minimal, as well as conventional room divisions. Several apartments have exterior spaces in the form of terraces. Most of them, however, possess a kind of “fresh-air space”, also called a “seasonal room”. It transforms into an open loggia in good weather and can be used as a normal, heated interior space during the rest of the year.

Concrete is used for the basic construction as well as for the interior flooring. Gravel and sand, two ingredients of concrete, form the floor surfaces outside and on the roofs. The load-bearing cores and double-layered exterior walls form the support structure. Generous window openings provide the apartments with ample daylight and a sense of space. The highly perforated wall surfaces become skeleton-like structures and give the apartments – analogous to the existing buildings – a pragmatic, urban air.

Colors applied in the form of mineral-based, highly matt pigments contrast with the unpretentious, commonplace expression of the architectural language. The use of color was developed in collaboration with the artist Adrian Schiess as a means of defining the atmosphere of the outdoor spaces (Carmen Court, garden). Thus, only three of the long façades are painted, while the street front, the short façades, and the reveals were left unpainted. The colors chosen are yellow-green and white in the Carmen Court, and blue toward the garden. The yellow-green tone on the southwest façade of the Carmen Court colors the light and reflects its hue when the sun shines onto the opposite, white-painted façade, thereby “bathing” the entire courtyard space. The blue coat of paint on the garden side mingles with the green of the trees to transform the old garden into a blue-green “landscape space” – right in the middle of the city.

Location Zurich, Switzerland

Programme New construction with 48 apartments, 11 studios, 1 doctors surgery, underground parking 112 parking spaces; Remodeling of the existing building (former hospital) into office spaces

Competition 1999, 1st Prize

Planning/Construction 1999–2002

Client Stiftung Diakoniewerk Neumünster
Schweizerische Pflegerinnenschule, Zurich

Gross Floor Area 15’199 m2

Team G/G Planning/Construction: New Buildings: Christian Maggioni (Project Manager), Gaby Kägi, Philippe Vaucher, Ivo Lenherr, Arnault Biou
Existing Buildings: Christian Maggioni (Project Manager), Andrea Fiechter, Eva Geering
Competition: Gaby Kägi, Pascal Müller

Construction Management New Buildings: Ruoss Witzig Architekten, Zurich
Existing Buildings: Annette Gigon / Mike Guyer Architects, Zurich, Collaborators: Peter Steiner (Construction Manager)

Landscape Architecture Zulauf Seippel Schweingruber, Baden

Structural Engineer Basler & Hofmann AG, Zurich

Building Services Engineer Basler & Hofmann AG, Zurich

Building Physics Engineer Basler & Hofmann AG, Zurich

Colours Adrian Schiess, Zurich and Mouans-Sartoux, France

Photos © Seraina Wirz
© Heinrich Helfenstein
Historical aerial view: © Baugeschichtliches Archiv, Wolf-Bender

Award Auszeichnung für gute Bauten der Stadt Zürich, 2005


Housing Development Broëlberg II

The complex is located in the eastern part of Broëlberg Park in a hollow between the old manor house and a villa built in the 1950s. Through variations in shape, height, and depth, the angled complex responds to the features of the site: the topography, the surrounding groups of trees, and the view to the lake.

The qualities and aspects of the site are reflected in a multitude of different apartment types. The structural cores for stairs, elevators, kitchens, bathrooms, and service installations define the living areas. These areas can be further subdivided with non-load-bearing walls, allowing individual arrangements ranging from traditional rooms to an open space.

Closely linked to kitchen and living room, the glazed loggias become focal points in the apartments. On the ground floor they access an outdoor patio and on the top floor large terraces. Shifts in the ground plan allow each apartment to face in several directions. The height of the rooms (2.70 m), the large horizontal openings with sliding windows, and the dark, solid oak floors throughout lend the apartments a sense of spaciousness.

Outside, the smooth, seamless, fairfaced concrete enhances the volumetric presence of the building. Its orange-red tone, pigmented with iron oxide, complements the saturated green of the surroundings in summer and harmonizes with the dark brown of the bare trees in winter. The color scheme was developed in close collaboration with Harald F. Müller. The windows with their dark brown anodized aluminum frames reinforce the twofold reading of the façade as a grid or perforated wall.

An elongated lobby provides access to the building and leads to two sets of stairs with an elevator serving each. Along one side of the hallway the color of the façade continues on the inside and is additionally accentuated through the windows, which are mounted flush with the exterior and have an orange-red painted frame on the interior. The green of the park and the orange of the façades are reflected in the lacquered, natural concrete wall opposite. The worked surfaces of the lobby and staircases mediate between the colorful exterior façades and the white plaster walls in the apartments. Lamps placed alternately in the ceilings and walls complement the effects of space, material, color, and light.

Location Kilchberg, Switzerland

Programme 13 apartments of varying types, underground parking with 28 parking spaces

Commission 1999

Planning/Construction 1999–2001

Client Dr. Otto P. Haab, Küsnacht
Baukonsortium im Broëlberg c/o HALIMA, Kilchberg

Gross Floor Area 3‘925 m2

Team G/G Architecture/Construction Management:
Pascal Müller, Carmelo Hochstrasser, Esther Righetti

Construction Management Annette Gigon / Mike Guyer Architects, Zurich

Landscape Architecture Zulauf Seippel Schweingruber, Landschaftsarchitekten, Baden

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 + Partner AG, Dübendorf

Colours Harald F. Müller, Öhningen, Germany

Photos © Harald F. Müller
© Heinrich Helfenstein