Zellweger Park AG took over the 125,000m2 industrial site in Uster from Zellweger Luwa AG on the 1st of October, 2003. Initially there were no precise ideas about the future of the site - but this changed through the divestiture of Zellweger Luwa AG in 2005. It quickly became clear that the closed industrial quarter would have to be converted into a lively and open urban quarter with a mixture of work and housing. Even then, it was planned to integrate art into the development process.
The specifications for an urban planning ideas competition were based on these high expectations for the site development and architecture. The winning project by EM2N Architects with Schweingruber Zulauf Landscape Architects (now Studio Vulkan) was convincing due to the following features: A mixture of living and working, large buildings contrasting with the small-structured surroundings, significant green areas and parkland, as well as pathways for pedestrians and cyclists connecting the neighbourhood. It was only through the result of this competition that the opportunities and beauty of the area with the two ponds were fully recognised. The clear structuring of the area into five construction sites was also an important component of this competition.
In the first development phase, the winning project with 140 rental flats was realised by Gigon/Guyer Architects with Guido Hager Landscape Architects. The project was credible thanks to its precise use of space, with two large building structures and the optimal embedding between the ponds and the Aabach river.
The contract for the second building project was awarded directly to Herzog & de Meuron. This so-called residential tower project with 32 rental flats is well-positioned at the Herter pond and impresses with the extremely innovative theme «industrial living in an industrial environment». The theme absorbs features of the industrial environment and translates them into the residential project.
Another significant project tackled was the sustainable utilisation of the oldest building on the site, the Spinning Mill building. Pfister Schiess Tropeano & Partner Architects were commissioned to create 35 attractive rental flats and a shop, through the conversion and extension of the historical building.
In the last residential building stage, four apartment buildings with a total of 133 rental flats were built directly by the Zellweger pond. EM2N Architects were contracted to realise this project on the site of the unattractive high rack warehouse. The complex is complemented by an art building which makes international and Swiss contemporary art accessible to a broad public.
«From the very beginning, we have been committed to carrying out the transformation process circumspectly and with above average quality. The micro and macro location, the surroundings and high quality existing basic substance (including the old company headquarters with Pavillon by Roland Rohn) were our responsibility.
Competitions and strategic direct commissions, as well as cooperations with important partners, played a significant role. Finally, we took advantage of the opportunities offered by the Walter A. Bechtler Foundation and placed works by important contemporary artists in our collection in the park area.»
Ruedi and Thomas Bechtler, Zellweger Park AG