Tamedia Office Building / Shigeru Ban Architects

© Didier Boy de la Tour

Architects: Shigeru Ban Architects
Location: ,
Architect In Charge: Shigeru Ban
Area: 10,120 sqm
Year: 2013
Photographs: Didier Boy de la Tour, Courtesy of Shigeru Ban Architects

Partner: Jean de Gastines
Project Architects: Kazuhiro Asami, Gerardo Perez, Takayuki Ishikawa, Masashi Maruyama
Structural Engineering: Creation Holz GmbH
Mep Engineering: 3-Plan Haustechnik AG
General Contractor: HRS Real Estate AG
Local Architect: Itten+Brechbuhl AG

Typical Floor Plan

From the architect. Innovation

The timber main structural system is in great extent the most significant innovation of the project. From a technical and environmental point of view the proposed this timber structure is a unique response to this type of office building and the fact that the structural elements are entirely visible also gives a very special character and high quality spatiality to the working atmosphere.

Courtesy of Shigeru Ban Architects


Besides the clear contribution to sustainability on the choice of timber as the main structural material (only renewable construction material and the lowest C02 producer in construction process) the global mechanical system has been designed to meet the highest standards in energy issues(The intermediate space other its “thermal barrier” function is part of the public spaces that will be heated and cooled with the extraction air from the office area)

© Didier Boy de la Tour

Architecture Description

The project for the headquarters of the Swiss media company Tamedia is situated in the heart of the city of Zurich in a 1,000m2 site within a larger urban block where the main buildings of the group are currently located.

Courtesy of Shigeru Ban Architects

The site is positioned towards the east part of the block and has the particularity of developing through almost 50m of linear façade facing the Sihl water canal.

© Didier Boy de la Tour

The implantation of the new building basically responds to the footprint of the existing building to be demolished but this time creating continuity with the facades of the buildings beside as well as taking advantage of the maximum allowed height in order to optimize the exploitable office area in this side of the building block.

Courtesy of Shigeru Ban Architects

The main access of the building is situated in the north angle of streets Werdstrasse and Stauffacherquai and will actually become the principal entry of the whole building complex.

© Didier Boy de la Tour

The building develops within 7 stories over ground floor with two basement levels for a global net area of 8,602m2 to which we can add 1,518 additional square meters that correspond to the two-floor extension project located on the roof of the neighbor building at number 8 of Stauffacherquai street.

© Didier Boy de la Tour

From an architectural point of view one of the main features of the project is indeed the proposition of a main structural system entirely made designed on timber that, other its innovative character from a technical and environmental standpoint, gives the building a unique appearance from the inside space as well as from the city around. In order to reinforce and express this idea the building skin is entirely glazed and special attention was given to achieve a low energy transmission levels that responds to the latest and very strict Swiss regulations in terms of energy consumption.

© Didier Boy de la Tour

Facing the city, the building also features an “intermediate” space throughout the whole height of the east façade that other its role as “thermal screen” within the general energy consumption strategy, also becomes a unique spatial experience with lounge areas and connection vertical links between the different office stories.

© Didier Boy de la Tour

These “balconies” can be used as informal meeting and rest areas that will also have the particularity of having a façade composed of a glass retractable window system that allow to “transform” these spaces into open air terraces that reinforce the privileged relationship between the interior building and its surrounding landscape.

* Location to be used only as a reference. It could indicate city/country but not exact address.
Cite: "Tamedia Office Building / Shigeru Ban Architects" 24 Feb 2014. ArchDaily. Accessed 22 May 2015. <http://www.archdaily.com/?p=478633>
  • Andrei P.

    truly innovative

  • jprati

    I love this! It has all the innovation we have come to expect out of Ban’s office.

  • Heywood Floyd

    Any debatable sustainability gains there may have been from using heavy timber (was the glue required for all of that lamination accounted for?) have come at the expense of unnaturally forcing the material into shapes that it isn’t naturally suited for. This building wants to be steel.

    • Dan

      Not sure about this building, but I’ve heard that when you begin to consider the embodied energy in the manufacturing of steel, laminated wood structural frames may actually be more sustainable.

    • FilipE

      “…forcing the material into shapes that it isn’t naturally suited for. This building wants to be steel”.

      And what is the natural shape of steel so? There is nothing wrong with making new aproaches on wood structures. Unless you deliberately put a whole tree as a beam it will always be something shaped.

  • Paolo

    Can anyone explain the structural concepts behind the shape of the timber members? It looks like everything has been designed to fit together with only minimal glue or fasteners. The shaping must mean something else too, otherwise I would think rounding off the corners would just be wasted material (i.e. not-so-sustainable after all?)

  • Vladislav

    Wow! This article boasts some of the worst English I have ever seen!
    What was used – Google Translator from Swiss German to English? As for the design, the building looks comfy and spacious. Regarding the “green” aspects of the rounded corners, I do not think they are really necessary. However, they do look kind of nice and probably do not add any considerable amount of material or maschining.

    • Andrei P.

      Straight edges are use in concrete and metal because it simplifies construction. Strain diagrams inside the material are never straight. Those round articulations are meant to show the simplicity of the original idea, even if they may not be the literal expression of structural efficiency either.

  • vahid

    wooden high-tech..!
    hmmmmm…I prefer this more than steel one..

  • ek

    I like the idea behind the wooden structure however it’s hard to design to meet all the requirements of the Fire Safety Regulations and create an aesthetic structure at same time. The rounded corners are more fire-resistant, I think.