Elmiger architects | Zollhaus


Project: Residential and commercial development Zollhaus
Brief info: 58 apartments, kindergarten, office and commercial space, theatre, restaurant and café
Location: Zurich
Client: Kalkbreite Cooperative
Realisation: Competition 2015


The project ‘Zollhaus’ seeks to create a strong relationship with the existing urban fabric in the area as well as adding a new element to the existing network of public spaces: the railway terrace, a sunny recreation space overlooking the expanse of railway lines entering and leaving Zurich.
The heterogeneity of the residents of the Langstrasse area is reflected in the Zollhaus. Living with and next-door to different people forms the foundation for a lively house.
The building’s circulation is designed to allow all possible forms of subdivision within the buildings – from large to small units, able to be adapted to changing needs at any time in the building’s lifespan.
The simple load-bearing column and floor structure, in combination with an external corridor along the south façade, enables maximum flexibility and adaptability to future needs.
The floorplan is structured by a clear gradation of space from public to private: the open semi-private external corridor along the south facade encourages social exchange between neighbours; the winter garden, an intermediate space between external corridor and each apartment allows users to regulate the privacy of their living spaces. This space can be used as entrance, balcony, or as an extension of the apartment, or can be freely used by tenants as they wish.
The focus of the project’s energy concept lies in minimising energy requirement and integrating passive and active energy measures. Key aspects of this are the buildings’ compact volume, as well as the continuous climatic buffer zone (winter garden) along the south facades of both of the larger buildings.