The site of Escherpark, a clearly defined block just outside of Zurich’s city-center, lies in the immediate vicinity of numerous cultural institutions and spacious parks. With several schools and recreational areas within walking distance and a physical relationship to the nearby lake, the opportunely situated development is ideal as a residential area.
The project for new construction at Escherpark, replacing a settlement of the 1940’s by William Dunkel, reacts to the local semi-urban structure of irregularly scaled, detached buildings and develops a new ensemble of eleven compact blocks from four main volume types whose design is effect of the slope of the plot and by the preserved centenary trees.
In contrast to the surrounding built context, the new design actively choreographs the subtle variations in outdoor space. The free space between the buildings stretches like a park as a meandering field of vegetation and a system of paths leads through the space making this inner world between the buildings accessible.
In addition to the differences between the buildings themselves, the way the volumes fit into the terrain introduces further variation in orientation and positioning of residences and in their physical and visual relationships to the gardens and one another.
The wooden façade is intended as discret background to the vegetation. It is a charred timber façade (Finnish spruce, FSC certified) burnt at 3200 °C, mechanically brushed and washed in order to achieve a natural protective near-black layer (no chemicals) against pest, mold and putrefaction. Floor-to-ceiling windows are shaded by shutters or fix elements of wooden slats identical to the façade, while the balconies offer frame views to the dense garden.
The dark charred superficial layer will slowly change and weather to grey with the time. Randomly nuances in its appearance will join together with the continuously changing colors of the ever-present vegetation.
In collaboration with Allco AG, Zurich
Structural Engineering: JägerPartner AG Bauingenieure SIA, Zurich
Landscape Architecture: Nipkow Landschaftsarchitektur AG, Zurich
Building Services: Gerber Haustechnik GmbH, Schwerzenbach
Electrical Engineering: Meteor GmbH, Pfäffikon
Building Physics/Acoustics: Zehnder & Kälin, Winterthur
Photographs: Rasmus Norlander, Zurich; Jon Naiman, Biel