C.F. Møller Architects win assignment in Zürich, Switzerland

C.F. Møller Architects are appointed to transform one of Zürichs most iconic and uniquely situated office buildings for the client Allreal. The result will be a highly sustainable building well connected to a public park and Lake Zürich.

The commercial building on Bellerivestrasse 36 in Zürich’s Seefeld district, built in 1974, has been part of Allreal’s portfolio of investment properties since 2004. With the lease agreements expiring in 2021, Allreal is taking advantage of the opportunity to modernize the commercial building and expand it to include a publicly accessible restaurant directly on Lake Zurich. Allreal carried out a study last spring with six architectural offices to see which could guarantee an architecturally high-quality and energetically innovative project.

In September 2019, the Scandinavian architectural studio C.F. Møller was recommended for further processing.

“The winning project is visually characterised by a contemporary and representative appearance with an opening and orientation towards the lake. The use of modern technologies and materials also makes the office building a showpiece of energy efficiency”, states Allreal in their press release announcing C.F. Møller Architects as the winner of the competition.

New sustainable façade

The façade of the building will be completely renewed into an enhanced, energy performing, light and transparent façade cladded with photovoltaic panels that are angled towards the sun to provide an optimized electricity production. The angled elements of the façade also create protection from direct sun light and serves as a means to achieve a Swiss Minergie-A certification. Architecturally, this gives the building a new horizontal and light expression that fits elegantly in the existing park.

Perhaps the most remarkable thing about this project is how the client, AllReal, has given us the opportunity, willingness and foresight to bring new life to an existing building in combination with the use of building-integrated photovoltaics. An opportunity to transform the building’s energy balance from negative to positive and make a rundown landmark a new green resource for the city of Zurich, says Partner Mads Mandrup Hansen, C.F. Møller Architects.

Light and open

The new building will consist of office units flexible in size, conference rooms and a public restaurant facing the lake. The functions are interconnected via a new social atrium creating synergy and knowledge sharing between the different departments. The central position of the atrium brings identity and a feel of belonging to every user of the building.

Existing stone roof terraces are converted into greener spaces to soften up the social zones on the roofs. This connects the surrounding park to the roofs and helps delay rainwater running from the roofs to the ground and creates biodiversity for plants and microorganisms.

The entrances are all scaled down using cantilevering façade elements, so the users and guests meet the building at eye level. This also breaks the wind and downdraughts creating more comfortable outdoor recreational zones.

The existing landscape walls and steppingstones are continued throughout the site as a motif for benches and recreational elements to give shape to the existing surrounding terraces. The stone benches and planted zones also form a natural and discreet access restriction to separate public and private flow.

Photovoltaic panels as integrated part of the design

The tonalities in the façade are kept in a light grey tone. The horizontal photovoltaic panels on the facade are covered with colour treated glass to make them match the metal cladding on the supporting structure for the façade elements.

“The building will be integrated closely in the context with a clean and light materiality to create a contemporary yet calm appearance that inscribes itself naturally along the prominent buildings of the East-bank of Lake Zürich. The visual appearance combined with an overall driving factor to reach Minergie-A creates an integrated design that takes into account social, economic and environmental sustainability,” says Associate Partner Thue Borgen Hasløv, C.F. Møller Architects.

Next step

The building application is planned for spring 2020. Construction will start in spring 2021, depending on the approval procedure. Completion and commissioning of the office building are planned for spring 2023.

Experience with photovoltaic panels

This is the second time C.F. Møller Architects are getting recognized for their use of photovoltaic panels as an integrated part of the building design and as a strategic sustainable tool for a building to produce its own energy. This was seen for the first time with the Copenhagen International School that is cladded with 12.000 photovoltaic panels. A building that shows that sustainability is not only minimizing the CO2 footprint but also letting the building produce its own sustainable energy.