Reinsurance Company Training Center

The layout of the new building complex and its relationship to the existing villa was specifically derived from the existing landscape architecture: an interplay of the formal “French” garden, which is located immediately next to the mansion and forms the middle of the complex, so to speak, and an “English” garden area that forms the transition to the open landscape.

Respecting the harmony between the villa and the geometric garden, the new volumes are freely placed in the “English” part of the park by volumetrically mirroring the designed garden-topography of the gardens, as it were.

The main building volume with the forum and conference rooms is set upon the artificial hill, providing an open view into the park and out beyond the treetops to the lake. The tract of guestrooms is oriented as a single-loaded structure towards the south and the landscape.

The space between the forum and the tract of guestrooms forms the entrance hall. From here one proceeds to a wide stairway along the tract of rooms down to the "French" garden, and continues from there along the garden wall to the dining rooms and meeting rooms of the villa.

One characteristic of the insurance business, redundancy, is reflected in the constructive scheme of the building. The construction of the heated spaces consists of two concrete, self-supporting walls with an insulated cavity in between. The unheated spaces are built with only one wall layer. Steel columns permit relatively large openings. They can be understood as a kind of "solid steel reinforcement" lay bare. Furthermore—like sunglasses—exterior, lightly-tinted, single-glazed sliding windows to the south, west and east form the primary sun shading in front of the interior, insulated sliding windows with clear glass. In the window cavity there is space for the additional, controllable sun and glare protection. Here the sandwich-window principle helps to protect the sun shading system from the wind.

The colored tint of the outer sun-shade glazing generates a slight coloration of the interior spaces. The various colors of the glazing produce a delicate polychromatic effect with the light in the entrance hall.

Location Rüschlikon, Switzerland

Competition 1995, purchase

Competition Organzier Schweizerische Rückversicherung Zurich

Team G/G Urs Birchmeier, David Leuthold

Structural Engineer Aerni + Aerni, Zurich