Bünzli Courvoisier - Switzerland
Cooparative Apartment Buildings
Schaffhauserstrasse 561 - 597, Zürich
2005 - 201

In the early 2000s many housing cooperatives in Zurich were confronted with the question of preservation or replacement, since many of their residential buildings were getting old.
Buildings that are 60 years old or even older, such as the residential development Schaffhauserstrasse built in 1948/49 on the outskirts of Zurich Seebach,
equire strategies for the future. The complex of 150 apartments was one of the first projects of the ASIG housing cooperative, which was founded in 1943.
Small apartments with 2 bedrooms and a poor structural substance were the main arguments for a replacement building. The ASIG developed an overall strategy
for all of their total of three settlements in Seebach. From the outset, the cooparative was commited to make the replacement in a socially acceptable way.
The demolition of the eight existing buildings at Schaffhauserstrasse was decided by the ASIG general assembly in 2004, five years later started the works for the first phase.
The construction in differen phases allowed an optimal internal resettlement of residents of condemned buildings.

Twelve architectural offices were involved in the project competition
for the replacement buildings in 2005, Bünzli & Courvoisier were chosen as winners of the process.
Their proposal consists of eight-storey buildings, which fit well in the urban context, and which are positioned no longer transversely but longitudinally in relation
to the Schaffhauserstrasse. They effectively shield the traffic noise from the busy street. The staggered arrangement of the four building volumes breaks up
the impression of a "noise barrier" and allows passages and vistas to the spacious, park-like outdoor area. The living rooms and bedrooms as well as the loggias
are mostly oriented towards the park. In this park existing trees have been cleverly integrated by the landscape architects. In order to obtain a high quality of
the exterior space, the cooparative deliberately decided not to build the maximum exploitation, although this would have been possible.

The buildings are realized as massive constructions, the ceilings and some interior walls were made of concrete for reasons of stiffening, while the remaining
walls were made of brick. The façade construction is supporting. The dimensions, and especially the height of the eight-storey building appear smaller than they are.
The scale of the new constructions is visually broken by means of a grid structure made of painted aluminum sheet. The ventilated façades are clad with mahogany colored
resin plates. This results in an elegant, wood-like appearance, achieving the intended impression of "a noble furniture". Compared with the old buildings the total of living space
was increased by about
45 per cent, although the number of dwellings remained nearly constant (156 in the new compared to 150 in the former buildings).
The large building complex contains a mix of different flats from 1 to 4 bedroom apartments, the most common type is the 2 bedroom apartment.
In these, as in the 3 bedroom apartments, there are offered different standards that vary in the available space. This differentiation allows the cooparative
to offer apartments in different price segments. Several measures stimulate the social life in this building complex. For example the settlement
accommodates a large apartment with nine rooms of the youth residential network club. At the heart of the complex is located a cafeteria,
which is directly adjacent to the new common room and to the covered forecourt. A daycare center is located on the ground floor.