airports architecture infrastructure initiatives research strat. planning urban design
2 options impressions
Zürich, Switzerland, 2009
client: City of Zürich (Tiefbauamt)
team: Güller Güller architecture urbanism, Metron AG

Along with the redevelopment of the former industrial district of Zurich West, the trafic situation is reshuffled. The Hardturmstrasse, the districtĠs most frequented street space in everyday life, will no longer be one of the main access roads to downtown: car trafic will drop significantly to the level of a district road. This offers the opportunity to redistribute the generous profile of the street space, some 30m wide, to all users, cars as well as flaneurs, tramway as well as bikes.

Two options for the redesign of the street space were developed and evaluated in an iterative approach of urban conception and trafic planning. The first option intended to reduce the space reserved for tramway and cars to the minimum, resulting in mixed use lanes and offering ample pedestrian areas on both sides as well as a central strip for easy crossing. The second option preserved the separate lanes for the tramway in order to guarantee optimal conditions for its operation, and was thus limited to the minimisation of the road and parking space for cars.

Both options used the same simple design elements: a special asfalt for the non-road surfaces, light and fine cornerstones enhancing the length and slight curve of the street, a pattern of colour stripes giving the pedestrian areas a human scale and local touch, a made-to-measure sitting element for the comfort of daily users and visitors, and a differentiated use of trees enhancing both the generosity and length of the street space (in the form of a lateral alley) and the crossing paths integrating the street with the district and the nearby river (in the form of tree groups).

Ultimately, the second and more functional option was favoured by the district inhabitants and the transport operators, as it offers better conditions to bikers and tramways in the street as well as at the nodes at both of its ends, and to cars when accessing the disperse parking opportunities of the adjacent building plots. The design elements were further concretised with a series of property owners for their private plots in order to guarantee an integration of the public and private surfaces into the same design logic.