SWISSMILL TOWER – ZURICH WESTSIDE, SWITZERLAND
Zurich Westside, Switzerland
Concept Façade Conversion
VERTICAL GREENERY BY DAY
In February 2011, the majority of Zurich’s electorate agreed to the extension of the Swissmill grain silo from a height of 40 meters to 118 meters. Doubtlessly, the vote in favour of the “Kornhaus” represents commitment and loyalty to the city’s 170 years of milling heritage. Furthermore, the increased capacity, which comes along with the extension, boosts the local food supply and industry, benefiting the district and the Swissmill itself. “Thanks to this decision, Swissmill can look to the future…”, a quote from the website of Swissmill, a division of Coop Cooperative. Now, five years later after the ruling, Coop unveils its skyscraping grain silo. A concrete colossus that brutally towers over Zurich’s gentrified industrial district. It looks as if the future of Zurich’s skyline strongly empathises with dystopian architecture, comparable to the movie “The Hunger Games”.
VERTICAL GREENERY BY NIGHT
In most instances, we, as architects, prefer and appreciate innovative and creative approaches in architecture, especially whenever design and public environment are in relation to each other. In the case of the Swissmill silo, we would have preferred a harmonised revitalisation of industrial buildings in respect of urban development. We visualised a futuristic and urban approach for the Swissmill façade by “planting urbanism”. Our inspiration evolved from the highly acclaimed “Bosco Verticale” in Milan and the appealing sculpture “Cloud Gate” by Anish Kapoor in Chicago.
STUDIOFORMA’s visionary concept for the Swissmill silo describes an equation of nature and hi-tech, by covering the lower half of the silo in a lush vertical garden and encasing the upper half in a mirrored glass façade. On one hand, the vertical succulent greenery radiates an attractive jungle atmosphere in the city and emphasises the natural source of the Limmat River. On the other hand, the mirrored glass melts with the heaven and serves as a fascinating setting for lightning shows at night.