best architects 17
Zurich / Switzerland
The main branch of the bank, designed by Ernst Schindler in 1971, has been extended and modernised to create a coherent whole that meets today’s needs while also rediscovering qualities that had been obscured over the intervening years. The project focused on three major renovation measures: raising the luminous ceiling over the customer hall, reinterpreting the façade of the inner courtyard for greater transparency and moving the staff restaurant out of the internal security sector and into the now publicly accessible inner courtyard. The newly created customer hall is interpreted as a public city space that offers the opportunity for diverse urban functions as well as being aligned with the specific profiles of customers of the Zürcher Kantonalbank. The clearly arranged crossroads connecting the customer hall with the adjoining streets and courtyards creates an interior zone that is architecturally defined by the twelve slender columns around its rim. This hall serves as a waiting and meeting zone as well as a flexible backdrop for a variety of events. The interplay of Ekeberg marble on the existing columns and parapet bands with new walls in serviceberry tree veneer, sand-blasted glass walls and Mägenwil shell limestone flooring generates an elegant, reserved ambience. The modern monumentality of the exterior façades is preserved and underscored by thoughtful renovation. With its reconceived façade, the courtyard has now become an inner setting for encounters and identification.