Birchlenstrasse housing development, Dübendorf

Birchlenstrasse, Dübendorf, Fischer Architekten AG Zürich

Embedded between the River Glatt and Birchlenstrasse, at the edge where industry meets the fringes of the small-scale buildings in the core zone, a new housing development is being made in Dübendorf. The competition entry from Fischer Architekten in collaboration with Marco Duarte Architekten was awarded first prize. The jury praised the “extremely precise urban planning which exerts its positive effect even into the apartments themselves.”

The perimeter is in a quiet district within walking distance of the centre of Dübendorf. To form a coherent link in the urban body, both now and in the future the new building must take several different factors into account. The project responds to these demands with its clear positioning along the street, which strengthens both the existing, highly heterogeneous street space and the Glatt as a nature space. By stepping the long facade in a pronounced way, it is broken down to a scale that is typical of this location and forms a well-proportioned transition between the urban structures. This stepping also allows the different geometries of the Glatt and the street to be integrated and transforms them into an additional value for the apartments.

The concept for outdoor space is based on the familiar close interaction between open space and architecture and through a generous area of greenery enables residents to live in a park with a direct relationship to the water. The apartments face both the street and the river area. Dispensing with separate private outdoor spaces, ensures a direct focus on the privately used loggias and terraces. Conversely, this ensures a continuous green area along the river of the maximum possible size.

Towards the water the image of the meadow is intensified, several newly planted trees augment the fine existing trees on the riverbank. With the help of simple mowed areas and paths this space can be made accessible. From here a look backwards reveals a building in a park.

All of the apartments face in at least three directions: the main orientation is always to the Glatt in the north and towards the midday sun in the south, through the stepped facades the living rooms and outdoor spaces also open to the east, and a number towards the west.

Birchlenstrasse 20, 8600 Dübendorf, Switzerland
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Task Residential building for 47 privately owned apartments with direct connection to the water
Job type Competition by invitation in collaboration with Marco Duarte Architekten
Mention 1st prize
Deliverables Project, tender, implementation project, general planning
Time period 2019–2025
Challenge Urban planning integration between a business area, existing buildings, and the river