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Community Centre Aussersihl

In the green setting of the park the building behaves like a guest, as the addition of an extra programme. Because it was not permitted to fell a single tree the building had to make do with the space between the root protection areas around the trees and instead develops upwards. After the local council decided to halve the budget, the project had to be adapted. Despite a cost reduction of 45 percent the usable floor area had only to be reduced by 25 percent. While maintaining the basic principles of the project all parts of the building were radically simplified, leading to major savings in the building costs: strategic minimalism! And the reworked, radically simplified project is still integrated in the park, on the one hand through the form, on the other through the facade. Lime-sand brick was the most economical material for building the curved walls. By using powerful colours we ‘killed’ this somewhat dated material so that only its shape and the respective shade remained. While the external skin is in a restrained ‘British Racing Green’, the spaces in the interiors glow in bright shades. Taking the image of tree bark as a starting point the facade is perforated and tattooed. The skin developed goes beyond the usual appearance of a hole-in-the wall-facade, produces depth and establishes a subtle relationship between the building and its surroundings. The building shell, which was elaborated at certain places, offers space for a variety of uses, making it a genuine district centre that draws its life from the various activities that take place there.

Photographs: © Filip Dujardin, Gent · © Damian Poffet, Liebefeld-Bern
Model photographs: © Hannes Henz, Zurich
Film: © Jens Franke, Marius Helten, Berlin

Index: 014 QZA
Date: Competition 1999 · Planning phase 1999–2000 and 2002–2004 · Construction phase 2003–2004

Team EM2N
Partners: Mathias Müller, Daniel Niggli · Project leaders: Barbara Frei, Christof Zollinger · Project team: Luc Pestalozzi, Christoph Rothenhöfer, Cornelia Schwaller, Vincent Traber

Specialist planners
Construction management / construction realisation: Jaeger Baumanagement GmbH, Zurich · Construction consultancy / construction economics: ct Bauberatung + Bauökonomie AG, Zurich · Civil engineer: Tragwerk Bauingenieure GmbH, Affoltern a. A. · Wood engineer: Pirmin Jung Ingenieure für Holzbau GmbH, Rain · Planning heating / ventilation / air-conditioning and Sanitary services: Amstein + Walthert, Zurich · Electrical services planning: Amstein + Walthert, Zurich · Building physics / acoustics: Amstein + Walthert, Zurich · Art: Stefan Altenburger

Zurich, Switzerland

Competition, 1st prize

City of Zurich, represented by City of Zurich Building Department



Café, Event spaces, Group rooms, Office, Roof terrace, Workshop spaces

866 m²

CHF 3 m.