Competition for an apartment building in Zürich, Switzerland

In autumn 2020, VOSS Architects were invited to participate in a selected competition for an apartment building in Zurich (4 participants). The competition entry was developed in collaboration with ZPF Ingenieure, Westpol Landschafts- architektur, Amstein Walthert and Rapp Infra.

The property abuts two quiet streets at the south and west and slopes down from west to east. The two other sides are adjacent neighbouring gardens.

The proposed building consists of two rectangular volumes of the same height but different orientation. They are offset at the right angle to each other and their street facades take up the proportions of the neighbouring and surrounding buildings. The building volumes are connected with each other and are deliberately set back from the street intersection by their orientation and offset. This positioning and relationship to the existing terrain results in two courtyards with different orientations and qualities. The two buildings are accessed via the joint entrance courtyard. The garden courtyard is reserved for the residents of the new buildings.

The two new buildings contain a total of 35 apartments, with 4 apartments per entrance on each regular floor. Each building is accessed internally via a central staircase and a lift. A mix of different apartment sizes is planned for each floor: 2.5-, 3.5- and 4.5-room apartments. A flexible room is included at the attic floor of both buildings. The room with en suite can either be rented separately or added to one of the adjoining flats.

All apartments are accessed via a small entrance area. The bedrooms, the spacious open-plan living-dining room and the kitchen are accessible from this entrance hall. The WCs and bathrooms are all located around the staircase core. The bedrooms are always lined up along the long sides of the building. The living-dining rooms and the open-plan kitchen are each located on the front sides of the building and face two external sides. Loggias, terraces or balconies are provided as extensions of the living rooms at the corners of the buildings. All communal functions of the buildings are located on the ground floor. The shared communal room is centrally located between the two entrances of the buildings. It is accessible from both staircases and can be used as a whole or divided and used separately. The two courtyards and their terraces are connected by its windows and doors to the north and south. The parking garage is centrally located in the basement between the two buildings above and is accessed by an internal ramp.

The buildings are designed as timber structures with variable timber cladding to the façades. The basement and the stair cores are constructed in concrete. The appearance of the new buildings is characterised by these two materials. They are used according to their functions and determine the aesthetics inside and outside. On the ground floor, the ventilated timber cladding consists of overlapping horizontal untreated spruce planks, giving the building façade a base. The façade is clad on the upper floors with thin open horizontal untreated spruce timber battens. With lowered wooden shutters in front of the windows, a uniform overall façade appearance can be achieved. The horizontality of the buildings is further accentuated by the circumferential parapet band to the balconies and loggias and the continuous bands between each storey.


© VOSS Architects 2021