Octavo II, Zurich Oerlikon

Octavo II Zürich Oerlikon | Fischer Architekten AG Zürich

Around the turn of the millennium a new urban district, Neu-Oerlikon, developed in Zurich, which used its industrial history as the basis for an urban development model: the basic structure with large scale buildings and outdoor space is retained, while the spaces are given a new function through refinement and a harmonious design. In this context the conversion of an office building on Lamprechtweg produces new housing space. The competition entry won first prize.

The central building in a development dating from 2004 is a rigid column-slab structure with two circulation cores. The task set in the competition included the renovation of the façade that was needed and the integration of forms of housing in a basic structure that was not, in fact, designed for this purpose.

In dealing with this challenge the two circulation cores are left where and how they are. They divide the conversion into three parts: the two heads with the staircases, each positioned on a street, are highpoints that form addresses and have apartments of the same kind on all floors. On the upper floors the central part of the building is reached from an internal access deck on the north side. On the ground floor there are potential studio apartments entered directly from the street, while the maisonette apartments on the third and fourth floor form a recessed roof top level. Loggias articulate the facade and provide a protected outdoor space for every apartment. The exploitation gained in this way is transferred to the new storey along Brown-Boveri Strasse and to the roof top additions on Lamprechtweg.

The simple but harmonious materialisation preserves the character of the former office building. Glass blocks and cast floors suit the place and its history. In the facade, the basic concept of different treatment according to orientation to the public space is preserved. A new complementary colour scheme distinguishes the building from its neighbours. Through its playful horizontal and vertical lines, the combed finish of the very coarse modelling render animates the grey-green representative facade and gives it a domestic quality.

Lamprechtweg 4, Brown-Boveri-Strasse 4a, Birchstrasse 183b, 8050 Zurich, Switzerland
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Task Conversion of an office building into apartments
Job type Total service competition
Mention 1st prize competition, Best Architects 23 Award
Deliverables Project, tender, implementation project
Time period 2018–2020
Challenge Building depths and column grids as well as circulation systems that are untypical for this kind of function