EM2N Architekten AG: IM VIADUKT - Umnutzung Viaduktbögen, Zürich - best architects 13

EM2N Architekten AG

IM VIADUKT - Umnutzung Viaduktbögen, Zürich

best architects 13

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Roger Frei


How can a listed infrastructure element be reprogrammed to become an integral part of the urban fabric? And how is it possible to still build inexpensively in today’s Switzerland despite the impenetrable thicket of regulations and users’ exacting demands for comfort in areas such as energy, hygiene and fire protection? The goal of this project was to transform a viaduct structure that was originally used as a railway line into a linear setting for culture, work and leisure. This reprogramming of the viaduct triggered two critical urban planning impulses: what was once a spatial barrier was turned into a networked structure, and the adjacent outdoor areas were upgraded. The architects regard this ambivalence as the fundamental quality of the setting and took it as their architectural leitmotif, interweaving the uses symbiotically with the structure. The characteristic cyclopean masonry forms the central atmospheric element. The new interventions are deliberately reserved, placing the legacy arches at centre stage.