Albisrieden Freilager Complex, Zurich, Switzerland

Foot of the Uetliberg Mountain

Client: Zürcher Freilager AG
Architecture: Rolf Mühlethaler Architekt
Period: 2010 – 2017
Surface area: 70 000m2

The conceptual backbone of Freilager Albisrieden’s planned conversion is the variety of open spaces. By opening up and renovating the formerly closed-off warehouse complex, new public spaces and crossways emerge to create a lively intermediary between the urban density and the garden filled neighborhoods, integrating both within the urban scene. The dynamic warehouse area stands in stark contrast to the surrounding cityscape. Its bends and turns create a continuous volume, differing in character in different locations.

Clearly separated communal and private spaces in the inner courtyards allow the possibility of small, protected outdoor areas for the apartments on the ground floor. Another architectural element dividing the space is the access balcony. Its design, with varying distances to the buildings, determines degrees of privacy, differentiating them in a hierarchy. The protected courtyards are conducive to informal child’s play with children able to use the playhouses freely. The orchestrated interplay of flowers, leaves, autumn coloring, leaf textures, and branch structures evokes shifting moods throughout the seasons and strengthens the singular character of each individually planted area.