The new residential building on Wechselwiesenstrasse combines the private comfort of a terraced house with the sense of community provided by a cooperative housing estate. Taking extra length allowances into account, the residential building is divided into two subsections, which are connected by a bridge-like balcony. This has made it possible for fifteen two-storey units with the character of private terraced houses to be created in the tranquil interior of the leafy estate district of Schwamendingen.

Between the two structures, a communal garden space has been created with a terrace, play areas, a pizza oven and plant beds. This is where the complex’s neighbourhood life takes place. People can meet, eat, play and do the gardening together. With their private front gardens and rear kitchen gardens, the ground-floor units are practically garden houses. With their plants and flowers, the terraces of the upper apartments are like lush roof gardens.

The two-storey apartments are entered via a living hall, where living, cooking and eating together can take place in a direct, uncomplicated way. Along the longitudinal wall, the wardrobe, laundry with washing tower and kitchen are combined to form a multifunctional wall unit. A wide spiral staircase leads to the quieter floor with the private rooms and bathrooms. The spiral staircase, with a flight width of 1.10 meters (3 feet 7 inches) becomes a space-creating feature that can be used in various ways, as a recreational space or a library. The spiral staircase can be retrofitted with a stair lift.
The ground-floor apartments in the smaller building structure are designed as open studio lofts. They can be easily transformed into classic 2.5-room apartments by inserting a wall. The 3.5-room apartments can also be transformed into compact, inexpensive 4.5-room apartments.

The construction method, materials used and building services are exemplary in relation to sustainability, component partition and economic efficiency. The dividing wall structure in the two building sections is simple and has been optimized for timber construction. The façades have back-ventilated wood cladding. The building’s technical systems are based on only a few shaft spaces and do not require any inserts. As all of the bathrooms are located on the façades, mechanical ventilation is not necessary.

Location: Zurich, Switzerland
Programme: 2 apartment buildings, 15 units and communal garden
Client: Baugenossenschaft Rotach Zürich
Gross floor area: 2’668 m2
Competition in selective process
Project Status: not built