Housing Neufrankengasse / EM2N

  • 19 Apr 2013
  • Housing Selected Works
© Simon Menges

Architects: EM2N
Location: Zürich,
Project Leader: Gerry Schwyter, David Duca, Raul Mera
Project Team: Fabian Hörmann, Florian Kaiser, Martin Schriener, Elena Schwarz, Caroline Vogel
Partners: Mathias Müller, Daniel Niggli
Area: 5,800 sqm
Year: 2008
Photographs: Simon Menges

© Simon Menges

The project is developed out of its exciting location between two extremes: the inner city Kreis 5 (District 5) and a large area of railway tracks. This expansiveness of this “lake of a different kind” gives the place its exceptional quality.

© Simon Menges

The layered structure of the building reacts in both plan and section to the external circumstances. Bedrooms and loggias face south and look onto the quiet courtyard. Entrance halls, wet rooms and cloakrooms are centrally positioned. Living and dining areas profit from the expansive nature of the area of tracks. Depending on their position in the building some of them are double-height, the apartments at the lower levels profit from an added spatial value. Generously-dimensioned loggias connect the spacious living areas to the courtyard. Access to the building and the three staircases is from Langstrasse and from the courtyard through a plinth level that receives daylight.

© Simon Menges

The architectural expression presents the internal structure. Towards the wide area of railway tracks a number of large window openings permeate the regularity of the façade. The calm façade facing the more intimate courtyard makes repetitive use of openings of the same size. Here the staggered positioning of the balconies suggests something of the animated interior.

First Floor Plan

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* Location to be used only as a reference. It could indicate city/country but not exact address.
Cite: "Housing Neufrankengasse / EM2N" 19 Apr 2013. ArchDaily. Accessed 28 May 2015. <http://www.archdaily.com/?p=362109>
  • mgreen

    Was the goal to look as dystopian as possible? Its looks like the old Modernist super-blocks, such as Heygate Estate and Pruitt-Igoe, but already dilapidated and run-down!

    • youprobablydontknowadamnthing

      Hey but it is in Switzerland – place where no significant social upheaval has disrupted the way people design like in other countries; therefore your comparison with the social housing projects in UK and US does not reveal any quality as an opinion, and ultimately renders you as ignorant towards the building’s context and content.

  • MZ

    The thing is that swiss concrete has such an incredible quality, that it will look perfect even in 30 years. You can actually look at buildings from the 70s with 40 years old concrete surfaces, that not many contractors elsewhere in the world can build new. Therefore it has an huge acceptance in the minds of people. But – don´t try this at home…