Redesign of Sihlcity Outdoor Facilities

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Location: Switzerland / Zürich / Type: Squares and Plazas / Streets / Waterfronts / Built: 2021 /
Show on Google Maps / Published on March 27, 2023

The profound changes in the retail sector due to online shopping required a redefinition of the Sihlcity site. With its direct location on the banks of the Sihl and the two urban city squares such as Utoplatz and Kalanderplatz, as well as a multitude of small urban niches, the public space on the site represents great potential. With the analysis of the existing situation, it became clear that a strengthening of the relationship between the inside and outside of the entire site could contribute significantly to the revitalisation of the public space. To demonstrate the added value of the Sihlcity site for the city and the neighbourhood, the project envisages a series of measures that are intended to increase the quality of the stay of the open space. They differ in the depth of intervention; in some cases, the areas have been completely redesigned, and in others, only subordinate, selective measures have been undertaken.

At the same time, the paving was completely replaced in order to have one element for the various measures that connects everything and represents the common denominator for all interventions and changes.

The most important measures are as follows:

1. the transformation of Utoplatz with a tree canopy and restaurant:

A tree canopy with inlays of meadow areas, additional seating, and a pavilion with a cafeteria/takeaway are intended to strengthen the quality of stay in the square. The tree canopy acts as a filter to Giesshübelstrasse and marks the most important movement flows on the square as well as the orientation to Kalandergasse.

The same applies to the relocation of the main entrance of the Peek and Cloppenburg building from the corner situation to the central building axis to give the imposing building an appropriate orientation on the square in the alignment of the most important pedestrian axes and thus strengthen its presence on the square. (Measure currently under construction)

2. connection with the opposite riverbank of the Sihl:

The construction of a footbridge on the axis of Kalanderplatz should improve the connection with the urban fabric. (Measure in the planning stage, not yet realized).

3. redesign of Kalanderplatz:

This must remain flexible and free as a multifunctional place for a wide range of events. In order to strengthen its role as the centre of the site, inlays of dark mastic asphalt in an abstract form recall the arrangement of calender rollers as an allusion to the history of the site and paper production.

The gutter pattern structures the square. The collected meteoric water is discharged into the Sihl via the planted embankment and not fed into the sewage system.

4. opening of the Sihl embankment:

Opening of the building façade along the Sihlufer and construction of a stair and ramp sculpture to make the Sihlufer a place for visitors to experience. The opening of the ground floor facades with new building entrances and the provision of small gastronomic establishments contributes to the revitalisation of the riverside space. A ramp and stair sculpture will connect the newly created building entrances on the higher level with the pedestrian level and at the same time serve as generous seating furniture to enable people to spend time on the riverbank.

5. replacement of the paving:

The area is a public space, but at the same time it must also be able to function as a traffic area, fire brigade access, as well as the traffic of large trucks, must be possible in a flexible manner virtually on the entire area. The great challenge in the materialisation of the floor covering was to make these conditions possible and at the same time to have a floor covering that contributes to the quality of the public spaces and distinguishes them as such.

The technical constraints of minimal construction thicknesses in some places and the desire to use a continuous surface as a connecting element led to the choice of a mastic asphalt surface. The desire to contribute to improving the urban climate with good albedo values spoke in favour of using a light-coloured mastic asphalt pavement. Interspersions of various natural stones with different colours, varying in size and density, distinguish the specific zones and squares from each other.


Project Data

Client: MEG Sihlcity, c/o Credit Suisse Asset Management Switzerland AG
Team Neuland: Ioulia Goula, Corinne Büchi, Sandra Knörr, Caroline Thomas, Alberto Grumi, Maria Viñé
Project by: Neuland ArchitekturLandschaft GmbH in collaboration with Stücheli Pestalozzi Schiratzki Architekten
Planning and realisation: 2018-2021

Streetview may show condition before project realisation

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