Zürich, 2012. Selected Competition, 4. Prize

Architecture: Meier Hug Architekten, Zürich.
Client: City of Zürich.

The dense urban development on the Sihl and Limmat Valley stands in contrast to the Garden City character of the morainelike and loamy slope of the Binz, Heuried, Gutquartier and Friesenbgerg quarter. Some clay deposits in the area created since the fourth ice age formed the distinctive steep slopes of Uetli mountain, where the project site is located . Nevertheless, since the middle ages and during the 1980s, large parts of the mines were covered or filled up with rubble. The project intends to make visible this period, making an interpretation of the terraces resulted from the clay mining that once characterized the place. The clay is not only brought in the project as a symbol but physically, as material,in walls and pavements. Furthermore, Friesenberg is among the earliest example of a green-city neighborhood in Zürich, which upper area on the Hill Friesenberg was in the 1930s declared as a holding zone. Despite finding a composition of extended meadows, family gardens, sport-grounds, and all sort of facilities, the densification of the lower area demands a new complex to allocate elderly people homes, new housing, offices and supermarket, which serves as the new center of the quarter.

The built environment responds to a sensitive connection between both sides of the hill allocating mixed uses. Three outdoor space typologies which gradually merge together allow a fluent upwards and downwards connection. They can be recognized as follows: A Promenade, shaded by new robinia trees and defined by a subtle edge and fine gravel surface along the sunny side of the Schweighof street.Two squares, and their corresponding connections through the topography which allocate places for small restaurants and resting areas that can occasionally be animated by a fest or rather informal play areas. Finally, a garden with meadows, embankments, hedges and fruit trees complement the diverse outdoor typologies, in which a different atmosphere gets experienced through distinctive space qualities.

Friesenberg Urban Development, Zürich-Wiedikon

Competition 4th Prize 2012