The Building With a Signal Effect

04.2018 - The area around Zurich's Escher-Wyss-Platz has undergone a further transformation into a mixed quarter with the move into the commercial building next to Theaterhaus Schiffbau. Directly next to the last remaining machine plant in the former industrial centre of the city, a commercial building was built according to the plans of architects Jens Bohm and Vittorio Magnago Lampugnani, which also stands out from the other newer buildings in the immediate vicinity due to its design.

"A building of this quality would be more likely to be expected in a more distinguished district of Zurich than in District 5," says Seraina Wirz. She manages the studio for architectural photography in Zurich and has documented the building with her ALPA on behalf of the clients. Your place of residence is not far from the object. "That's why the assignment was particularly exciting for me."




The staircase connects the rooms and allows views into the the courtyard and the neighbourhood. © Seraina Wirz



The rooms are characterised by transparency and a view of the quarter with its different buildings. © Seraina Wirz


View of the Hardbrücke bridge and the traffic passing through the city on and below it. © Seraina Wirz



View from the attic to the Prime Tower. © Seraina Wirz




Elements of industrial buildings form contrasts to newer buildings. © Seraina Wirz


View from the offices into the courtyard of the building. © Seraina Wirz




View between office building and shipbuilding in direction of Hardbrücke. © Seraina Wirz



Stitched pictures

One of the most important aspects of her work for Seraina Wirz is the cooperation with the architects. Much depended on the first joint inspection of the building, during which the possible settings were examined and the characteristics of the building explained. "Architectural photography is always more about architecture than photography," says Seraina Wirz. "In my opinion, this is a central quality feature and if you look closely at good photographs, you can clearly see the difference."

The pictures for the documentation of the commercial building at Schiffbaustrasse 2 were taken with the ALPA 12 MAX in combination with ALPA / Rodenstock lenses with focal lengths of 40 mm and 32 mm. The ALPA 12 MAX is the successor of the ALPA 12 XY and was developed for architectural photography. One of the characteristics that Seraina Wirz regularly uses is the stitching of panoramic images. In this way, for example, the photograph of the staircase in the office building was taken. "The composite image gives an impression of the openness and dimension of the building, which is difficult to show on a single photograph," she says.


Quarters from different worlds

Transparency is a central feature. Those who work or stay here can gain insights into the inner courtyard and to the outside. The closer environment of the office building is determined by a very different neighbourhood. On the east side it borders on the shipbuilding industry with its rooms for theatre professionals, concert visitors and gastronomy. Together, the two buildings nestle against a mighty plane tree and form the outline of a new public square. Towards the west, the huge MAN Turbo hall is the last remaining plant of the machine industry adjoining the office building. At the front side, traffic passes the Hardbrücke bridge and the tram tracks below it. Nearby are older buildings with restaurants, nightclubs, offices and shops, but also modern residential buildings and other commercial buildings such as the Prime Tower. They are different worlds that collide and the development of the quarter is not complete.

For Seraina Wirz, the question arises as to which of the new buildings integrate into the cityscape and which foreign bodies remain. She sees the office building as an enrichment, because it offers services for the residents such as kindergarten or restaurant and is distinguished by its well thought-out design. "For me, good architecture always depends on the details. Sockets, light switches or handrails can round off or devalue a project. In this respect, the building convinces, among other things, through the use of selected materials. "In addition, the generous interior design, openness and transparency also stand out. The best embodiment of this is the staircase, a central and open space where the rooms converge and which at the same time offers a view across the building and the outside world".


A template for further buildings

The office building is closed off from the roof terrace with its arcades. It allows superimposed views of the surroundings: "An unfinished area in a city that is actually finished," as Seraina Wirz says in reference to a statement by the Berlin architect Hans Kollhoff. In this context, the commercial building provides a direction for future properties, an impulse. "It will be interesting to see whether this impulse is taken up by other architects for the quarter."


Links
Website Atelier für Architekturfotografie afaf
Photographers Page Seraina Wirz
Portfolio "Schiffbauplatz Zürich" - afaf"
ALPA 12 MAX
ALPA / Rodenstock HR Alpagon 4.0/32mm, LB
ALPA / Rodenstock HR Alpagon 4.0/40mm, LB
Website Baukontor Architekten




© Seraina Wirz

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