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„Josef will wohnen“, Zurich

The „Josef will wohnen“ (Josef wants to live) initiative was launched as a counter-proposal to the development plans for the Josef site in Zurich and calls on the city of Zurich to rethink its project idea. Innovative approaches show alternatives for the site that focus on urban quality, mobility, density, preservation of buildings and the needs of residents.

The starting point for the „Josef will wohnen“ initiative is the Josef-Areal, a plot of land owned by the City of Zurich on which the former „KVA Josefstrasse“ waste incineration plant operated for decades. This is why the site is still located in the „zone for public buildings“. In recent years, the city of Zurich has developed a utilisation concept for an indoor swimming pool, flats for the elderly, a depot and other facilities as well as a small neighbourhood park.

In the meantime the rapidly developing centre around Hardbrücke has created a new situation: the Hardbrücke centre needs flats. And lots of them, for different sections of the population. This residential use has priority in such a central location in a rapidly growing city, alongside public uses such as an indoor swimming pool, healthcare facilities and flats for the elderly.

„Josef will wohnen“ is a utilisation concept for urban spaces that can be applied throughout Switzerland.

In particular, because the city of Zurich is coming a little closer to the one-third target for non-profit housing construction on its own land. The „Josef will wohnen“ working group, initiated by the Hamasil Foundation, has developed a new vision for the site based on the City of Zurich’s ideas. This will create 400 to 600 additional non-profit housing units and thus living space for around 1,000 people.

Three urban design variants were developed, including a perimeter block with a high point, a Brazilian-style composition of two high discs and a semi-circular courtyard and a playful stacking of residential buildings and terraces. Densification, open, green and neighbourhood spaces, climate-friendly construction while preserving the existing building fabric and short distances into the city are key considerations. The initiative calls on the city of Zurich to rethink its planning and examine these alternative approaches to urban development.

A special feature of the design is the use of parametric tools for urban development usage scenarios, which are automated and parameterised with the help of Grashopper and ArchiCAD. This enables the effective and efficient development of variants and thus the urban design of the Josef-Areal.

Project Details

Hamasil Foundation
Internal Team
Christoph Kellenberger, Tim Hildenbrand-Severo, Mikel Martinez Mugica
External Team
Martin Hofer (management, concept), Köbi Gantenbein (management, writer), Stefan Rotzler (landscape architecture), Timothy Allen and Ronan Crip-pa (visualisations, diagrams, research Neugasse), Alain Thierstein (spatial development)