«Platform» Office Building

In the immediate vicinity of Hardbrücke railway station, the seven-story office building called Platform completes the ensemble comprising the high-rise Prime Tower and its annexes Cubus and Diagonal. The building’s volume, with various angles, reacts to the urban situation, providing a coherent link between the station and the new central square. A two-story-high passage through the building connects the square with the public pedestrian and bicycle path along the side of the tracks as well as with the new pedestrian underpass to Hardbrücke Station. In addition, the passage acts as a generous covered area outside the entrance foyer.

With its pronounced horizontal and layered design, the building contrasts with the Prime Tower nearby, effectively forming its reclining counterpart. As in the tower, the stories increase their floor area as the building rises, made possible by various projections. the volume of the building is also subdivided by courtyards that cut into the west and south sides and ensure well-lit office spaces within, as well as by the angular projections in the façade.

The central, prestigious entrance foyer forms an additional internal open area. A tall atrium flooded with natural light links the entrance level with the office floors above. Its function as a hub that lends the building its identity is additionally underlined by the open staircases and adjoining seating areas on the office floors. Dark glass balustrades mirror the space and the light in multifaceted reflections, creating a kaleidoscope effect.

Next to the entrance foyer on the ground floor are a restaurant, a cafeteria, and an auditorium. A wide, inviting staircase leads from the entrance level to the customer lobby on the first floor, from which the various conference rooms can be accessed. the levels above provide office space for around 1,000 staff. Although the building has been conceived as a corporate headquarters, the positioning of core facility areas permits a variety of office typologies if required in the future, including the division of each floor into a maximum of four separate rental units. Wall and ceiling paintings by Nic Hess, wallpaper and drapes by Lachmayer/Nobis and a textile sculpture by Ernesto Neto complete the interior.

To be able to meet changing spatial needs or different uses without radical structural alterations, the building has been designed as a load-bearing skeleton structure with reinforced cores.

The glazed façade is articulated by horizontally layered bands of parapets and windows. The double windows hold sunblinds in between and help reduce noise from outside. The inner windows can be opened for ventilation purposes toward the interim space of the double-skin façade. The slightly reflective outer glazing shell and parapets accentuate the building’s folded structure.

Location Zurich, Switzerland

Programme Seven storeys office building, 1'000 workplaces, atrium as central entrance hall, restaurants, shops, auditorium

Commission 2007

Planning/Construction 2007–2011

Client Swiss Prime Site AG, Olten

Gross Floor Area 28‘853 m2

Team G/G Christian Maggioni (Team Manager), Franziska Bächer (Project Manager from 11/ 2007), Stefan Thommen (Project Manager until 06/ 2007), Christoph Rothenhöfer (Project Manager until 05/ 2007), Markus von Dellingshausen, Philippe Volpe, Karla Pilz, Armin Baumann, Pieter Rabijns

Total Contractor HRS Real Estate AG, Zurich

Landscape Architecture Schweingruber Zulauf Landschaftsarchitekten, Zurich

Structural Engineer Planning: ARGE Dr. Schwartz Consulting AG, Zug and Dr. Lüchinger + Meyer Bauingenieure AG, Zurich and Freihofer & Partner AG, Zurich
Construction: Ribi + Blum AG, Romanshorn

Electrical Engineer Planning: IBG B. Graf Engineering AG, St.Gallen
Construction: Herzog Kull Group Zürich, Schlieren

Building Physics Engineer BAKUS GmbH, Zurich

Heating/Cooling Planning: PB Peter Berchtold, Ingenieurbüro für Energie und Haustechnik, Sarnen
Construction: Lippuner Energie- und Metallbautechnik AG, Grabs

Ventilation Engineer Waldhauser AG, Münchenstein

Lighting Consultant Planning: Ernst Basler + Partner, Zurich
Construction: Regent, Zurich

Plumbing Planning: PB Peter Berchtold, Ingenieurbüro für Energie und Haustechnik, Sarnen
Construction: Huustechnik Rechberger AG, Zurich

Facade Planning: gkp fassadentechnik ag, Aadorf
Construction: Fahrni Fassadensysteme AG, Lyss

Furnishings Gigon / Guyer Architekten, Zurich
workspaces intern: Off Consult, Zurich

Art within Architecture Nic Hess, Zurich
Herbert Lachmayer and Margit Nobis, Vienna, Austria
Ernesto Neto, Brazil

Photos © René Dürr
© Walter Mair
© Shinkenchiku-sha, Tokyo
© Thies Wachter
© USM Möbelbausysteme / Dani Suter

Prime Tower Office High-rise
with Annex Buildings Cubus and Diagonal, Maag-Areal

The location of the Prime Tower and its two annexes, the Cubus and Diagonal buildings, is part of a formerly almost inaccessible industrial site that is gradually being converted into a business and residential district with associated services. Situated in the immediate vicinity of Hardbrücke railway station and 126 meters in height, the high-rise is the tallest in Switzerland for the time being. It is not only a distinctive feature of the neighborhood, but also a landmark for the up-andcoming district of Zurich West.

The concept underpinning the Prime Tower is of a building that might be said to assume many guises, although its fundamental structure and the means deployed are relatively straightforward. The design aimed to find a floor plan arrangement that would maximize the number of well-lit workplaces, while also seeking to create a striking architectural form evoking differing impressions depending on the position from which it is viewed. The outcome of these efforts is a building on an irregular octagonal ground plan that confounds conventional expectations by broadening toward the top.

In terms of urban planning, the building’s significance is twofold in relation to its impact when seen from nearby or from a distance. From afar, it appears as an abstract, elegant volume formed from greenish glass that changes depending on whether it is seen from the side (from the north or south) or head-on (from the east or west). The planes of the façade, oriented in various directions, reflect the light and the surroundings in different ways, articulating and subdividing the volume into what might be called gigantic “pixel surfaces”. The impression the building makes when seen close-up also changes with the spectator’s standpoint. These close-up views reveal that the projecting portions of the tower exert an integrating effect on the surrounding buildings.

At Geroldstrasse, an inviting outdoor area between the high-rise and the new neighboring Cubus office building leads to the entrance of the Prime Tower and toward the planned Lichtstrasse. In the southwest, a plaza is created in conjunction with the existing listed Diagonal building and the new Platform office building beside the railway.

The ground floor of the Prime Tower houses retail spaces and a coffee bar for use by both office employees and passers-by. Special features on the top floor include a public restaurant, bistro with a bar, and a lounge, while a private conference area is available on the floor below.

The cores and emergency stairs are arranged so that up to four tenants can occupy offices on the same floor or, conversely, one business can occupy several floors with internal atriums and staircases. The projecting portions of the building create additional office space on the higher and therefore more soughtafter floors, as well as providing greater variety when using the space for different types of offices.

The load-bearing skeleton structure of the tower is made of concrete with reinforcing cores. The variously sized cantilevered projections are supported by slanting the supporting columns over two or three stories. The façade is constructed from insulated triple glazing with a greenish tint. To enhance workspace conditions, and to meet fire regulations, which require smoke ventilation, alternating windows can be opened parallel to the building. The prefabricated windows are frameless on the exterior. They grant the polygonal building the multifaceted appearance of a greenish crystal.

Location Zurich, Switzerland

Programme High-rise office building, 36 floors, 126 m hight, entrance hall, bank branch, varying office types, gastronomy, restaurant and conference area on the top floors

Competition 2004, 1st Prize

Planning/Construction 2004–2011

Client Swiss Prime Site AG, Olten
Client’s Representative: Perolini Baumanagement AG, Zurich

Gross Floor Area Total Prime Tower with Annex buildings: 73‘830 m2
Prime Tower: 53‘461 m2

Team G/G Planning/Construction: Stefan Thommen (Team Manager), Christian Maggioni (Deputy Team Manager), Christoph Rothenhöfer (Project Manager until 2007), Pieter Rabijns (Project Manager from 2007), Alex Zeller, Urs Meyer, Franziska Bächer, Raffaella Bisceglia, Armin Baumann, Karin Winklmann, Roberto Outumuro, Rafael Schmid, Martin Bischofberger, Leander Morf
Competition: Stefan Thommen

Total Contractor ARGE Prime Tower
Losinger Construction AG and Karl Steiner, Zurich

Landscape Architecture Schweingruber Zulauf Landschaftsarchitekten, Zurich

Cost Planning/Scheduling Building Project/General Contractor Submission: b+p baurealisation ag, Zurich

Structural Engineer Competition (C): Dr. Schwartz Consulting AG, Zug
Submission (S): Dr. Schwartz Consulting AG, Zug and Dr. Lüchinger + Meyer AG, Zurich and Freihofer & Partner AG, Zurich
Execution (E): Walt + Galmarini AG, Zurich with Dr. Schwartz Consulting AG, Zug, Dr. Lüchinger + Meyer AG, Zurich, Bänzinger Partner AG, Richterswil, Freihofer & Partner AG, Zurich

Electrical Engineer S: IBG Graf AG, St.Gallen
A: Hefti Hess Martingnoni, Zürich

Heating/Cooling S/E: PB P. Berchtold, Sarnen

Ventilation Engineer C/S: Waldhauser AG, Münchenstein
E: Hans Abicht AG, Zurich

Plumbing S: PB P. Berchtold, Sarnen
E: GRP Ingenieure, Rotkreuz

Sprinkler Consultant S: PB P. Berchtold, Sarnen
E: GRP Ingenieure, Rotkreuz

Facade C/S: gkp fassadentechnik ag, Aadorf
E: Reba Fassadentechnik AG, Chur

Furnishings Gigon / Guyer Architects with C/S: Studio Hannes Wettstein, Zurich

Art within Architecture Adrian Schiess, Zurich and Mouans-Sartoux, France
Harald F. Müller, Öhningen, Germany

Photos © Walter Mair
© Thies Wachter

Award Auszeichnung für gute Bauten der Stadt Zürich 2011–2015

Refurbishment of Villa Rosau

In the course of the project for the new office building, Villa Rosau has been fundamentally refurbished. The historical villa was constructed by the architect Ferdinand Stadler in 1844/45. Research in the archives and surveys on site yielded information on the villa’s historical condition and urban setting that provided the basis for the façade renovation and the basic fit-out. The building will continue to be used as the domicile of the ‘Club Baur au Lac’ and comprises bar and restaurant spaces on the ground floor, clubrooms on the second floor, and meeting rooms on the top floor.

Location Zurich, Switzerland

Programme Club Baur-au-Lac, lounge, restaurant, kitchen, seminar rooms, offices

Commission 2009

Planning/Construction 2009–2020

Client Basic construction: Villa Rosau AG, Zurich
Client’s Representative: Conarenco AG, Zurich

Gross Floor Area 2‘104 m2

Team G/G Christian Maggioni (Team Manager from 11/2012), Mathias Rösner (Project Manager from 2011), Michael Winklmann (Team Manager until 10/2012), Martin Bischofberger (Project Manager until 2010), Roman Vetterli, Christoph Dober, Karla Pilz, Griet Aesaert, Daniel Friedmann

Construction Management b+p baurealisation ag, Zurich

Landscape Architecture Vogt Landschaftsarchitekten, Zurich

Structural Engineer Locher Bauingenieure AG, Zurich

Electrical Engineer IGB B. Graf AG, St.Gallen

Building Services Engineer Gruenberg + Partner AG, Zurich

Building Physics Engineer Kopitsis Bauphysik AG, Wohlen

Fire Engineer Makiol+Wiederkehr, Beinwil am See

Interior Design Club Baur-au-Lac: Atelier Zürich

Photos © Roman Keller

Vinikus Restaurant, Reconstruction and New Building

(no longer in original state)

The unusual current development of the impressively shaped site, a former stream-bed, is the result of use and clearance by its former owner, a building company, over a period of a hundred years.

By building, or adding, the restaurant the present owners started their long-term efforts to change step by step the industrial site in the very heart of Davos into a public cultural area. Half of the front property had to be transformed to house a new restaurant offering high-quality cuisine and wine, a passion of one of the clients, the young wine specialist Christoph Künzli. A subterranean wine cellar had to be built, and the volume of the former single-storey restaurant was enlarged to the edges of the statutory boundary lines to create an interior space of a suitable height for a new guest area.

The cellar is built in concrete.  The upper walls rise in solid masonry. Around the large window opening, the masonry is held by a tight gridlike steel framework. The external facades are rendered like the surfaces of the existing courtyard development. The painted lettering of the restaurant name, which is essential to distinguish the building, is the only element that stands out.

The wooden dining room is built into this masonry structure like a lining. Large fibre building boards, partly veneered, form the ceilings, walls, doors and cupboards. The floor is made of parquet strip flooring. On the window side this inner ‘wooden house’ can be opened and closed by narrow movable wooden panels – interior shutters. The hollow space between the wooden cube and the brickwork structure houses the ducting that supplies the dining room with air and electricity through the open panel joints. The atmosphere inside the restaurant is defined by the use of oak/barrel timbers: millimetres thick in the veneers and centimetres thick in the parquet.

In contrast to the unifying panelling in the dining room, the cellar is characterized by a separation of space, equipment and the different materials used. The walls are fair-faced concrete, as are the ceiling and the floor. The 'stairlike' wine rack in the wine-tasting room is unveneered. The huge table is solid oak.

Location Davos, Switzerland

Programme Restaurant, degustation room, kitchen, side rooms

Commission 1990

Planning/Construction 1990–1992

Client Christoph Künzli, Scala Vini Davos

Gross Floor Area 415 m2

Team G/G Dieter Bachmann (Projekt-/Bauleitung), Gabriella Güntert

Construction Management Annette Gigon / Mike Guyer Architekten, Zurich

Structural Engineer Davoser Ingenieure AG, Davos

Signage Lars Müller, Baden

Photos © Heinrich Helfenstein

Swiss Museum of Transport – Restaurant Pavilion

Demolished in 2008, replaced by the new Entrance Building

The entrance court to the Museum of Transportation is to be newly zoned and upgraded by replacing the former garden restaurant. The courtyard not only serves to provide access to the actual exhibition area; rather, it presents a kind of interstitial space that already offers certain attractions. With the Rigi ship on one side and the new High Flyer tethered balloon on the other side, the garden restaurant forms a center and invites visitors to pause and observe.

A steel construction with sliding, horizontal sun shading and rain shielding panels is “at least in part” the actual load-bearing structure of the pavilion. Thus, it is incorporated into the steel “megastructure”. Sheet metal panels form the cladding and allow the volume to be generously opened towards the outdoor seating area in the form of large sliding shutters. Both the steel structure and the sheet metal panels are galvanized, whereby the galvanization on the panels formed an iridescent, frost-pattern-like surface.

Approximately 200 persons can be accommodated beneath the sun shading sails. The traversable roof of the pavilion, from where one can enjoy a view of the nearby goings-on and a view into the further environs, can additionally expand this area.

A self-service restaurant with hot and cold meals, as well as a beverage and kiosk area, are to be found within the pavilion itself. The restaurant space forms a highly densified, functional unit together with the neighboring service rooms. The interior of the pavilion has been clad with light-green, enameled sheet metal panels in collaboration with the artist Harald F. Müller. Outside, the sheet metal tabletops painted light yellow respond to the radiant coloration of the interior space.

Large letters on the pavilion identify the place and the building. Hardy toasts for food and drink on the back side remind visitors to the Museum of Transportation that one can take refreshments out of this shiny “box” as needs be.

In 2008, the pavilion was sold and now stands as a residential studio on the roof of the St.Gallen Sitterwerk (conversion: Flury + Furrer Architects).

Location Lucerne, Switzerland

Programme Self-service restaurant, beverage and kiosk area, storage, terrace

Commission 1999

Planning/Construction 1999–2000

Client Swiss Museum of Transport, Lucerne

Gross Floor Area 117 m2

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

Construction Management Sepp Zurfluh, Rothenburg

Landscape Architecture Christoph Fahrni, Lucerne

Structural Engineer Dr. Lüchinger + Meyer AG, Zurich
Ingenieurbüro B. Trachsel, Lucerne

Electrical Engineer Integral, Lucerne

Building Services Engineer Integral, Lucerne

Signage Trix Wetter, Zurich

Colours Harald F. Müller, Öhningen, Germany

Photos © Heinrich Helfenstein

Hotel Züri, Heinrichstrasse

The Hotel “Senator” was built in the 1980s and integrated into a late 19th century perimeter block development in the former industrial district of Zürich-West. It has been converted into the new “Hotel Züri by Fassbind”. Fortunately, it was possible to retain the basic structure of floor slabs and concrete partition walls almost unaltered because a new building would have been smaller, as stipulated by zoning regulations, and would have consumed more embodied energy. The roof and the façades were entirely remodelled. One of the characteristics of the district’s residential and factory buildings are clinker bricks, used as facing bricks or as infill in frame structures. On the hotel façade, they take the form of “intarsia” that are cast in self-supporting concrete elements. All of the fittings and furnishings inside the building, including the bathrooms, were replaced. The inner as well as the outer appearance is marked by contrasting pairs such as day and night, light and dark, lying and standing, restrained material colours and strong spectral colours.

Thus, on the street front dark brown bricks have been embedded in the prefabricated elements of the cladding; in the courtyard the bricks are beige. Differently sized concrete “heads” terminate the vertical elements at the top and the horizontal elements at the sides, illustrating the modular construction. Some of the piers and lintels are entirely of concrete – as is the weighty protective canopy at the entrance. The way in which matrices were used to fix the 4 cm deep clinker bricks in the formwork can be seen in the passageway leading to the courtyard, where the matrices were cast without inserting any bricks.

The generously sized wall openings feature full-height timber and metal windows with frames of solid dark oak. To provide light for the new mansard rooms, the stainless steel roof is pierced alternatingly by dormers and roof windows. Two dormers placed by side by side accentuate each corner of the courtyard wing – and, in the interior, enhance the tent-like corner rooms with a “daylight lantern”.

The built-in furniture in the hotel bedrooms is made of oak, both light and dark. Large mirrors guide guests into the space and expand it, as do the windows that open the rooms towards the city. An upholstered bench can be used as both seating and a luggage stand. Letters woven into the grey-beige carpeting wish guests good day/good night in English, French, Italian and German. Patches of colour on the walls modify the daylight in the rooms and, above all, the artificial lighting consisting of LED wall and floor lamps designed especially for these rooms.

Large lamps and patches of colour also accentuate the hotel corridors and “shorten” them visually. Robust metallic and cement-based panelling protects the walls against trolley suitcases and laundry carts, and carpeting, also with lettering, dampens the sound of footsteps.

At ground level, the lobby, lounge and breakfast area form a spatial continuum with large “show windows” facing Heinrichstrasse and the city. Here the durable flooring consists of cast clinker brick fragments of the same kind as used in the façade. Guests are welcomed at a reception area of oak and black sheet metal, with bench seats extending along the walls and custom-made tables, chairs and pendant lamps.

On Heinrichstrasse a generous forecourt in cast concrete invites guests to take their breakfast outdoors under the semi-shade of the trees. In the courtyard the patchwork of paving materials is augmented by coarse gravel, and large tree planters made of steel rebars give newly planted deciduous trees a chance to take root above the underground parking.

Location Zurich, Switzerland

Programme Remodelling of a hotel dating from the 1980s (the former Hotel Senator) with 167 rooms, 317 beds (previously: 121 rooms, 242 beds), lobby with lounge and breakfast area, wellness area, underground parking
Original building volume and basic structure, new: façades, roof, interior fitting-out, building services

Commission 2012

Planning/Construction 2012–2017

Client Hotels by Fassbind

Gross Floor Area 6‘280 m2

Team G/G Development and realisation: Martin Feichtner (Project Manager), Cornelia Schmidt (Deputy Project Manager), Eva Rosenova, Matthias Clivio, Christian Gammeter, Nicolas Hunkeler, Maxim Moskalenko, Luisa Wittgen
Preliminary design study for building permit application: Pieter Rabijns (Project Manager permit application), Markus Seiler (Project Manager preliminary design study), Franziska Bächer (Project Manager), Martin Schwarz, Meret Morgenthaler

Construction Management Ghisleni Partner AG, Rapperswil (Sub-planner)

Landscape Architecture Rainer Zulauf, Studio Vulkan Landschaftsarchitektur, Zurich

Structural Engineer Henauer Gugler AG, Zurich

Electrical Engineer pbp ag engineering, Zurich

Building Services Engineer Gruenberg + Partner AG, Zurich

Building Physics Engineer Gartenmann Engineering AG, Zurich

Fire Engineer Basler & Hofmann AG, Zurich

Acoustical Engineer Gartenmann Engineering AG, Zurich

Photos © Roman Keller