Schwamending Triangle, Zurich , 2011
The modernisation of a cooperative “Gartenstadt” in Zurich-Schwamendingen is confronted with completely different requirement in view of the globalisation of the economy and individualisation of lifestyles than was the case at the beginning of the Gartenstadt more than 100 years ago. The idea of a “better” city for the working class on a greenfield site was reduced to a land reform just a few decades later. It is no longer a social utopian social model that shapes the housing concepts, but the provision of affordable living space with qualities such as light, air, sun, and lots of green for everyone. Unlike today, density was not seen as a quality but as a necessary evil to create affordable housing. In these respects, the garden cities are in no way different from the satellite cities of the ideological adversaries of programmatic modernity. We propose an architectural and open spatial structure that is based on a few fixed parameters but still leaves sufficient scope to keep strategic options open regarding “uncertain” issues. Essentially, the following parameters determine the urban development proposal:
- Urban development on a neighbourhood scale. Adequate staggering of building heights and density.
- Neighbourhood clusters as identity-forming, manageable social units.
- Participation and sustainable development. Planned change management.