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