Monday, September 16, 2013

Zurich and the Zoo

So, for those of you who don't know, I post on this blog every other day, but I write each day about what I've done. Two days in one post. It makes it more manageable for me to split it like this, so I'm not overloaded on certain days and so I actually remember everything I've done, haha! This half of the post is being written while the rain falls softly and gently outside the window, it is quite nice.

On Sunday, we left Bregenz and headed towards Basel. Since the distance between the two cities is only a few hundred kilometers, we spent the day in Zurich. Half the time we were checking out really cool buildings and projects, and the other half we were wandering around, looking at apartments and pointing at things. I gotta say, I really don't like the whole apartment looking at part. They're always large buildings, so they're hard to photograph, and we can never go inside. So we're just standing outside, looking up at buildings with louvers and sun shades and talking about apartment living, and I just don't relate to it well.

But the FIRST project, now THAT was cool. It was zoned as a garden in an urban area, but was designed to resemble the shape of a building. It was a steel structure with vines growing up all over it. It was beautiful, the plants created the building and fleshed out the shape.

Grey days make for terrible photos, but the garden building was still awesome.

It looks like the columns are made of plants, and that the plants are holding the building up.

The roof, and down a plant column

We walked past a plaza and garden that had parking beneath it. It was really cool- the plane we walked on was a garden. There were birch trees planted there, but they were all planed on really perfect hills. Turns out, if you're going to plant trees on a green roof, they need more dirt to grow into than normal green roof plants. Putting enough dirt for a tree to grow into across the WHOLE roof would make it too heavy, so you just build up the earth around the tree. Pretty cool.

Tree park!

This plaza is built over the parking garage too. The grates below the pond are for ventilation from below.

On our way to a lunch spot, we stopped at a newspaper office designed by Shigeru Ban. Usually structural members are made of concrete or steel, but Ban was able to design and build the structure out of glu-lam wood beams. It made the entire space feel warm, relatable, and cozy. I really enjoyed it. 

Beautiful columns and beams

The connections between the girders and the columns were stunning. The whole structure looked like it could've been made out of a giant's tinker toy set.

And some pretty awesome chairs made out of cardboard tubes.

We had lunch at a train station designed by the famous architect Santiago Calatrava. He's an impressive designer who pushes the limits of design and engineering. The train station was a beautiful spidery looking structure. There was room for three tracks, and there are actually plans to expand the station further into the hillside.



The underground portion

We wrapped up our Zurich excursion at the Heidi Weber Haus pavillion, designed by Le Corbusier. In the last 15 times Heiner had visited the building, it was never open. But as luck would have it, today it was open to the public. And the nice lady behind the counter let our group in for free, when the usual entrance fee is 10 francs (so, for our group, 220 francs). IT WAS AWESOME. I got reprimanded for accidentally banging a pivot door into the wall and I wanted to melt into the ground for disgracing the name of architecture. But besides that, the visit was great.

This was Le Corbusier's last finished work. He started designing it before he passed, and it was completed after his death.

Light conditions!

Me, happy and cheerful, moments before closing the pivot door and becoming the walking embodiment of shame. 


On Monday, Heiner took us to the architecture zoo- the Vitra Haus and campus. Vitra is the company in Switzerland/Germany that has the European rights to produce and distribute the famous architectural furniture. The Eames Lounge chair, for example. I believe that the company in America with the rights is Herman Miller. But Vitra's campus has buildings designed by some of the biggest names in Architecture. Zaha Hadid, Tadao Ando, Sanaa, Frank Gehry, Herzog & deMuron, Alvaro Siza, and Buckminster Fuller all have buildings here. It was like taking 20 kids to a candy store and telling them to go have a blast, we're leaving in 6 hours. 


On our way out to Vitra, we drove under a Herzog & deMuron building that CJ visited during his trip to Europe.

We also missed our connecting tram to Vitra, so we killed time in a train station. I liked the disco ball hanging there.

We had a tour of the campus from 9:30 to nearly noon, where we got to go inside Hadid's fire station and Ando's conference center.

VITRA HAUS (Herzog & deMuron)

The museum by Frank Gehry. It was being renovated so we couldn't go in, but I liked it just the same. Gehry designed it so that you had to walk around the building to experience the complete shape of it.


Buckminster Fuller's Geodesic Dome pavillion

(here's the inside)

Hadid's fire station

Hadid designed this in the deconstructivist style- lots of drama, acute angles, and radical spaces. The building captures the essence of motion while remaining completely still

Inside the fire truck bay and the lounge area

Alvaro Siza's warehouse and bridge

Sanaa's warehouse, completed in 2012. The facade is made of polyurothane!

Ando's conference center. Made of beautiful concrete :)

A couple cherry tree leaves slipped into the formwork of the concrete accidentally.

Vitra Haus! This is where Vitra displays and exhibits its beautiful works of furniture.

I want that pantry. And I think this chair looks like a stingray :) It's surrounded by mini versions of the chair, which are STILL expensive. I looked at getting a mini chair, but they're like 200 euro a piece (the Eames Lounge chair was 500).



I spent a wonderful amount of time here at the Vitra complex. After our visit was over, we stopped at a Renzo Piano gallery. It was nice, but not really spectacular. You know you're a spoiled architecture student when, right?


1 comment:

  1. That pantry is so awesome! And the stingray chair! AHHH! I really love the garden- so cool how that was done! The Vitra Haus looks crazy, but in a really awesome way.