ZO site, Wetzikon

Ersatzneubau ZO-Areal, Wetzikon, Fischer Architekten AG Zürich

Awarded second prize in the competition, the design for the new headquarters for ZO Medien AG plays the role of a link between the existing urban district of Unterwetzikon and a new district that is being developed outside the town. Opposite the train station forecourt, a new public space is created that also serves as an address and a facade for the media building.

By placing the new building in the south-eastern corner of the plot a forecourt is made along Spitalstrasse that receives a generous amount of sunshine and functions both as access for the residents and as an address for ZO Medien AG. A rented café with outdoor seating and a long bench seat underlines the public character of the media building in the immediate vicinity of the train station.

The building, whose depth is a response to the site, is a point block with an internal courtyard, which on the residential floors has a communal terrace that is open to the northeast. On all floors the internal courtyard is the central circulation space and source of light. As a meandering deck, an office terrace, and a lobby it is also a space for social exchange.

Two continuous staircases – one for the residents, the other for office staff – each with their own lift shafts serve as vertical circulation. In combination with the access deck this circulation system ensures a high level of structural flexibility, as on every floor it is theoretically possible to combine different areas or change the function of an entire storey or just part of it. Whatever the case the other staircase serves as a second escape route.

Externally, the building has a representative urban facade made of concrete with infill panels of pressure impregnated larch. The way the façade is articulated emphasises the function of the plinth floors, while the residential floors above form the structural continuation. In the interior, however, around the access deck a completely different atmosphere that emphasises the value of domesticity and neighbourly interaction is produced.

Rapperswilerstrasse 1, 8620 Wetzikon, Switzerland
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Task New replacement building for the headquarters of ZO Medien AG with commercially used spaces on the ground floor and 60 apartments above
Job type Competition by invitation
Mention 2nd prize
Time period 2018–2019
Challenge Combining the representative function of the media building and the residential function, high level of structural flexibility, public space, noise, and density