New gateway to Zurich’s Irchel Campus
An interdisciplinary project team based around EM2N has won first prize in the competition for the new PORTAL UZH on Zurich University’s Irchel Campus. The first building in this development serves general functions, it reinforces the identity of the campus and creates a new western termination to the central campus area. Conceived as ‘flexible shelving’, so to speak, the building is articulated into a ‘welcome area’ with spaces for teaching, dining, consultation and the public and, secondly, a ‘science area’ that offers innovative spaces for laboratories and practical training. The building’s infrastructure plinth serves as a logistics centre for the entire campus. The project responds to the architecture of the listed first development phase by Max Ziegler and, using a contemporary form, interprets Ziegler’s fundamental hypotheses such as the strict construction grid, the consistent separation of building shell and fitting out, the non-loadbearing facade and the circulation system. With the large hall, the roof garden and the vertically layered encounter system of the in-between building it adds new elements that ensure that the spatial and atmospheric qualities of this densely built campus are preserved. The PORTAL UZH is a hybrid concept that pragmatically addresses questions about typological and material sustainability and in the process strives to develop from them a new grammar of construction.