Cocoon / Camenzind Evolution

cocoon©nb - 001

Architects: Camenzind Evolution
Location: Zürich,
Project Team: Stefan Camenzind, Marco Noch, Susanne Zenker
Client: Swiss Life
Project Area: 1,900 sqm
Budget: US $8,800,000
Project year: 2006-2007

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Cocoon is located in Zurich’s Seefeld district on a beautiful hillside, which enjoys excellent lake and mountain views. The location’s distinctive flair stems from the exceptional park-like setting – a green oasis into which Cocoon snugly nestles. Flanked on three sides by mighty, age-old trees the elliptical structure reads as a freestanding sculptural volume that gracefully spirals up from the park. The stainless steel mesh enveloping the building combines visual privacy with restrained elegance, while establishing a strong and unmistakable presence.

roof plan
roof plan

The bold stand-alone building embodies an innovative conception of interior spatial organization and interaction with the surrounding environment. In doing so, it caters for a wide variety of workplace and occupancy concepts. With its spiral massing, Cocoon may be conceived as a sort of “communication landscape” that creates a unique spatial configuration and working environment in a matchless setting. The stepped, upward-winding sequence of segments also shapes the character of the building interior. All spaces are arranged along a gently rising ramp, which wraps around a central, light-flooded atrium. The space planning concept dispenses with the traditional division into horizontal storeys in favour of a seemingly endless sequence of elliptical floor segments. By eliminating the usual barriers to communication, this generates a unique spatial experience and working environment that unlocks a host of intriguing possibilities for interaction and co-operation. The floorspace design is occupancy-neutral and provides for fully flexible partitioning together with the adaptability necessary to meet the shifting needs of future users. Together, the various elements – lift, spiral ramp, segments and stairwell – constitute a clearly structured, versatile circulation system that provides for both the desired interaction and the necessary flexibility to accommodate alternative uses.

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Internally, a light-flooded, upwardly widening atrium forms the centrepiece of Cocoon. Around this, the circulation and communication ramp winds its way upwards in gently curving contours, to provide a fluid link between all the internal spaces. Internally, as the ellipses expand with each turn of the spiral, the skylight void opens up in a stunning spectacle. Externally, the building adopts the guise of a dynamic, upward-reaching sculpture. The dramatic atrium, with its wealth of internal visual links, generates a natural ambience conducive to communication and a sense of community.

cocoon©fk - 022

The facade assembly consciously adds a note of subtlety and sophistication to the overall composition. The building is wrapped in a fine, almost scaly veil of stainless steel wire mesh. This curtain curls elegantly upwards in soft lines along the expanding spiral, its junction with the roof terrace accentuated by an open facade frame.

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The shrouded, sculptural stand-alone building, introverted during the daytime as it looks inwards towards the atrium, is recast in the evening hours as a transparent shining beacon.

Cocoon uses a Air-source heat pump system for environmentally-friendly heating and cooling.

Cite: "Cocoon / Camenzind Evolution" 18 Nov 2009. ArchDaily. Accessed 30 May 2015. <>
  • 2MACoff


  • Engel

    A beautiful cocoon!

  • shreyank

    elevating…. sensuous….

    • dev

      wow…in love with the cocoon.. :D

  • Lorenzo

    Swiss guggenheim :) I like it!

    • L dog

      not guggenheim, but good in its own way

      • RPC

        “not guggenheim, but good in its own way…”

        …it looks very guggenheimous to me.

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  • Bark

    Having visited and experienced this building, a wonderful journey unfolds in light and volume and the stainless mesh veil is beautiful

  • Blaze


  • JDR

    Boring concept,
    but very very well executed.

    • miesgunnarowyourboat

      I agree. Although execution without a concept is a shell of architecture, although I don`t think that`s what they meant by cocoon. :(

  • mimar

    F.L. Wright! yes, same but different, and the difference is what makes this building beautiful!
    the name is irritating, this is not a cocoon.

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  • Robin

    This looks awesome!

  • christopher

    frickin’ gorgeous!

  • Gatz

    WOW!! Very beautifull!

  • Michael

    Inspiring! Love the interior space.

  • luiz felipe

    really beautiful! I like this concept, simple but cool.. and nice images too

  • İç mimarlık

    what the function of this space?
    sorry i can`t see ?

    thanks for sharing.
    very good.

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