Harry Gugger Studio

Cantonal Archive . Zürich

Harry Gugger Studio

The existing Zurich Staatsarchiv buildings sit as an outlier to the dense concrete cluster of the University of Zürich campus. This bulky set of staggered concrete volumes steps up the leafy western slope of the Zürichberg to the north of the city centre houses one of three campus centres of the university.

The current Staatsarchiv is composed of two contrasting but connected structures built twenty-five years apart. They sit together within the broad green border between the terraced campus complex and the sunken highway cutting that separates the university proper from the broad green expanse of Irchel Park to the west. This pair of low-lying buildings are orientated roughly north-south within the alignment of the overall campus gird and extend to the south from the broad pedestrian spine that links the university buildings to the park and city beyond.
The two existing structures closely mirror one another in their scale and volume but differ greatly in their external appearance. The rhythmic articulated external colonnade of Building 1 is contrasted in the distinct solid mass and simple apertures of the Building 2. This pure volume clearly demarcates the main public entrance to the complex.

Rather than completely reconfiguring the organisational strategy of the complex, we propose to continue the internal logic established with the completion of Building 2 through into the new building both above and below ground. The strength and clarity of the existing building’s structure, volume and program organization provided us with the internal DNA of the new project itself. By replicating and reinforcing the program bands of this systemic organisational and spatial arrangement within the new building the clarity of the existing internal spaces and their efficient, optimal operation are retained with a minimal interference to the existing building envelope. The main public space linking the first two buildings together on the entrance level is extended through the length of the new building to facilitate access to its public functions that are distributed to either side. A double-height volume is created above this enlarged space to provide an additional generosity to the public area as well as light, air and views to the office spaces on the level above.
The new building’s exterior is defined by a pure and uninterrupted continuation of Building 2’s external envelope. This perfect volumetric extrusion seamlessly extends its precise form in a highly reflective mirror of the existing building. Whilst this external volume and its internal configuration is a replication, the materialization of this exterior envelope has been completely reconsidered to due the variation in its functional requirements and in anticipation of its future extension to the south. The high-performance glazed façade provides a seamless, monolithic and sustainable envelope for the new extension. Its smooth continuation of the scale, volume and dimensions of Building 2 speaks both of the expansion of its internal spatial structure and its function as an auxiliary addition to the complex.

Archive Building Extension.
Open Competition.

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