Ganz Landscape Architects, with animal ecologist André Rey on the team of Adrian Streich Architekten, have won the architectural competition for the new Wache West and City Archives in Zurich. In our contribution we embrace the City of Zurich’s call for a comfortable urban climate, good air quality, and increased biodiversity. On the former Centravo site near the Schlachthof, we establish new green areas on different levels in several roof landscapes and create a bridge for nature from the ground to the roof.
Already today, nature has spread out in the Schlachthof area. Wild growth, cracks and crevasses vegetation, herbaceous plants that grow on waste ground or among refuse have spread across the gravelly areas, and lizards, rare species of snails, and valuable wild bees are colonizing the transformative habitat. Whatever is there will be recorded, gathered, and recycled/used and further developed in the structure-rich grounds of the new Wache and City Archives office. Broken-up asphalt and on-site concrete will be reassembled in mosaic-like surfaced areas. Different species of poplar trees will be planted around the ground floor of the buildings and grow in varied pairings in the roof landscapes. Poplar trees, with their strong character, will accentuate the noticeable industrial context of the area and at the same time give it an identity and stand in a constant dialogue between above and below.
The City Archives and the Wache will be accessible from Hohlstrasse and Hardgutstrasse. A spacious outdoor courtyard area with a water basin will function as an arrival and cross-through area, providing transit between the two building entrances but also encouraging visitors to linger. The old locomotive shed will house a bistro that will be surrounded by a macadamised gravel surface. In the light shade of the poplar trees, it will have the atmosphere of a garden tavern, radiating into the surrounding neighbourhood. Where use allows, a belt of former industrial ground now loosely vegetated and scattered with poplars will encircle the grounds of the new Wache and City Archives office.