Client: Accademia di architettura di Mendrisio
Location: Zürich, Switzerland
Coordinates: 47.357359, 8.535148
Climate: Oceanic / maritime, Temperate
Environments: Riverside, Urban
Scale: 21.513 ㎡ Large
Types: Hotel, Housing, Residential
Densification means to diversify what is clearly city from what is not. City is made of streets and street-fronts: buildings, their functions and inhabitants. The character of a city depends from the unity and firmness of its urban fabric, which has to be progressively transformed according to historically and typologically contextual development strategies. Life quality in a city is a direct consequence of the coherence and completeness of its urban fabric. Where the city gets lost, it forgets large areas which are soon absorbed by unclear and ambiguous forms of sprawl, where both nature and built structure loose their identity.
Zürich waterfront sits in front of the lake like a crown of representative buildings. Banks, theatres, hotels and headquarters frame the city centre like a monumental stone belt, which act like a filter between the regular housing block urban structure and the public lake promenade.
Each of this significant building occupies an entire urban block and its facade is the scale giving urban element of the lakefront. At the south limit of the city centre, near Rieterpark, the big houses structure left an empty plot, despite for its extremely prominent position as city centre main gate.
Therefore, the intervention consists of three large scale mixed-use office and hotel buildings, in continuity with the strong presence of the preexisting historical villas, turned into prestigious headquarters, and the recent contemporary additions.
Both volumes and refined white concrete construction, are a carefully sized and proportioned reaction to the masculine presences of the surroundings, being, at the same time, a strong but familiar architectural event in the city fabric.
An elegant play of solids and voids, relevance and discretion.