Not least thanks to the natural landscape of expansive meadows, woods and lakes, the town of Uster has long been one of those regions east of the city of Zurich which has been increasingly gaining in popularity. With the result that not only a growing number of price-conscious tourists are opting for the mere 15-minute train ride from here to Switzerland's largest city but also an increasing number of people who appreciate the high quality of living in the uplands more than the dust and confines of the city. Effectively as a direct result of this tendency, a new quarter was completed in Uster's western section in late 2014 which offers a total of 16,000 m² rental space for apartments, offices, health facilities and shops. To this aim, the Zurich architectural agency Burckhardt+Partner AG has developed three flat-roofed structures of varying sizes and heights clustered on a triangular site to form an urbanist ensemble which is equally permeable and precise.
The fact that this ensemble appears as a homogeneous unit despite the multiple usages and buildings of two, three, four and five floors is particularly attributable to the clear, reduced-design architectural language which is primarily expressed in the building shells of the same shapes. While the high-scaled building structure with projecting and receding areas ensures a pleasant urbanity, the horizontal strip facade panelling is a reminder of the environment characterised by the landscape: at window height, there are rough-sawn spruce casings; the parapets are determined by aluminium panels with floral perforated patterns whose motifs are based on the centaury plant growing in the nearby moor; and the largely storey-high ground floor pedestal fully comprises slightly waved ceramic tiles. The three layers have a common surface treatment intending to provide the facade with effective protection from weathering without concealing the natural raw material under topcoats or coatings. For this reason, the wooden casings are only varnished, the aluminium panels are anodised transparently and the slim ceramic strip tiles given a slightly translucent glaze. For the building pedestal, the architects sought a robust, durable and easy-to-clean facade solution right from the start which was to be more space-saving, inexpensive and sensual than any prefabricated exposed concrete elements. The decision was ultimately made in favour of a thermal insulation composite system (TICS) with dark grey glossy ceramic tiles whose aesthetics are reminiscent of the multi-storey residential buildings realised in the 1950s in Milan by the Italian architect Luigi Caccia Dominioni. Similarly, the tiles in Uster also reveal a lively irregular surface texture ensuring a subtle combination of extravagance and standard in interplay with the uniform strip tile format (62 x 250 mm) and consistent joint width – this effect is underlined by the wave-shaped tile crosssection and the ensuing play between light and shade. This, in turn, gives rise to a facade which naturally harmonises as a horizontal band with the strict design criteria associated with wooden casings and aluminium panels yet reveals a certain sensitive playfulness on closer inspection.
Not least thanks to the natural landscape of expansive meadows, woods and lakes, the town of Uster has long been one of those regions east of the city of Zurich which has been increasingly gaining in popularity. With the result that not only a growing number of price-conscious tourists are opting for the mere 15-minute train ride from here to Switzerland's largest city but also an increasing number of people who appreciate the high quality of living in the uplands more than the dust and...
- Year 2014
- Work finished in 2014
- Status Completed works
- Type Multi-family residence / Office Buildings / Business Centers