The hotel lies in one of the few quarters in Zurich where the city exhibits force and density. We wanted to complement this situation by placing the powerful body within the building line of the street. In contrast to the surrounding courtyard constructions, we interpreted the volume with great spatial depth, as a closed, cubic mass for events. Rather than a yard, we inserted three large incisions into the body, which make it possible to guess outside, the density inside. Each of the incisions identifies each side of the building clearly and additionally allows all of the hotel rooms to participate in the environment of the street.
The heart of the complex is a multistory hall enclosed within the mass with no access to zenith light, but instead, to a falling spiral of soft, sidelight. This hall is the calm center of a plan from which a coordinate system arranges the spaces on four fields centrifugally outward toward the city: not the mall, but the street, should make the hotel public.
The spatial structure of this hall assumed right from the start that we would not define the interior design. The huge, space-creating load-bearing system of crossing concrete plate-girders allows, on the one hand, an immense functional concentration because it is capable of combining without loss the totality of the various span lengths of rooms, halls, and parking. On the other hand, the concrete walls also define the spatial proportions and the light—and they impede the constant program changes that poison almost every design process in such conglomerates. As a stage, the interior space should be as robust as possible to acquire its independence from interventions by the hotel’s interior designer.
This crossing of space and load-bearing structure; developed nearly simultaneously with the Footbridge over the River Mur, Murau (p. XXX), has become one of our main themes.
We resolved the façades in individual bay windows to differentiate an individualized, residential life from the expression of an office. The spectacle of expansive blinds in steady motion owes its unpredictable play to the air conditioning’s control program and the invisible guests who rule over this program. Fabric that covers and uncovers: the motif also refers to the intimacy of residential life.