Thesis Lukas Raeber, ETH Zurich
Published in the ETH Yearbook 2009, in MODULØR Magazin 2010
The project attempts to strengthen the local identity of zurich’s district 5 and the services it provides by means of five ‘bastions’ – buildings in five separate locations constructed as targeted interventions. with both conceptual clarity and using the concrete actions of urban development, the project reacts against the co-option of this area through commercialization and real estate speculation.
as bastions of the area and its social life, the buildings are intended to create a stand against ‘gentrification’ – that is, against ongoing demographic changes in district 5. through the establishment of a youth center with apprenticeship programs; the upgrading of a rundown building into a local trading center; setting up retirement homes and a local care centre; the construction of a local service center with social housing; and through placing a cultural center with event hall next to the train station, important pre-existing social and cultural programs will be accommodated and expressed in concise architectural language.
the buildings are intended to firmly establish the area’s structures as important monuments – and the way in which they are arranged will create public spaces, which can be activated in manifold ways by being used for temporary events. these public spaces will continue into the buildings’ interiors, and so construct cordon sanitaires that would contribute to the interaction of the respective social and cultural programs. the resulting typologies, from both the exterior and the interior, create an effect of openness and scope for versatile annexations.
the urban development strategy of selected interventions will logically be carried through on further architectural levels. while the buildings themselves will physically alter the area and define the cityscape, the programs – which will be strengthened by the bastions in which they are housed – concentrate on the immediate environment. In addition to the general effect on district 5 further local zones will be created that could each take on their own civic qualities.