Client: ETH Zürich
Location: Zürich, Switzerland
Coordinates: 47.377513, 8.538319
Climate: Oceanic / maritime, Temperate
Environments: Urban, Railway, Riverside
Types: Cultural, Mixed use
The new «Habis Royal» was set to replace an existing building on the Bahnhofplatz in Zürich with a representative entrance into the underground world of Shopville, an immense labyrinth hybrid of a shopping mall and railwaystation, hidden below the Railway station and its plaza. This proposed program was rejected on the grounds that the existing entrance situation is adequate and that the area would benefit more from an open public ground floor at this prominent corner.
The ground floor therefore acommondates a gastronomy instead a giant gap and a set of escalators, as well as discreet entrance in the back leading to the upper floor offices and exhibition space as required in the program. The basement of the building inevitably merges in with the complex system of Shopville.
The building respects the morphology of the area but without imitation. It interprets its environment in a modern way, has large punctured windows, is insulated on the outside and clad with bitumen, which echoes the stone finishes found in the area but without extreme costs or the pretentiousness of its precursor.
The interior is characterized by the buildings structural system, which is the result of two existing parameters: the program and the curved underground rail tunnel located directly below the building. In order to avoid an encounter with the tunnel, 6 heavy pillars were placed parallel to it, on which the building stands. In the ground floor restaurant, cantilevering arches mediate between the heavy pillars below and the slender columns and structural facade on the office floors above. The top floor crowns the building with a high column free space used for events and exhibitions organized by the theoretical client, SBB (The Swiss Railway Company).