Bollhalder Eberle Architektur
In the Espenhof Nord housing estate, a replacement development of high urban and architectural quality is to be built with around 150 flats for the elderly, a large community room, a Spitex office, a residential care group/day care centre, a kindergarten and commercial premises. The aim was to develop concepts that strengthen communal living and contribute to contemporary living in old age with a high degree of flexibility in use. Due to the location and dimensions of the site along Espenhofweg from Fellenbergstrasse to Langgrütstrasse, the new development will make an important contribution to neighbourhood development. The Foundation for Retirement Apartments commissioned Planzeit GmbH to conduct an anonymous project competition in an open procedure for architects and landscape architects, whereby the competition procedure was subject to public procurement. In order to ensure a high degree of transparency, the last of three jury days was held partly in public. A nine-member jury judged the 39 projects received according to the criteria: Urban design, architecture and outdoor space, operation and society, economic efficiency and environment. In the end, they unanimously selected the "Muchacho con pipa" project by the consortium Bollhalder Eberle + Theres Hollenstein with planetage landscape architects as the winning project. For the winning competition entry, Loomn, as a professional agency for architectural visualisations, created 3D images showing the design from the outside. This enabled the jury to get a detailed picture of the buildings.
The focus of the visualisation was on the exterior view to show how the buildings look in their surroundings in combination with the vegetation. The Espenhof retirement village community is located in a residential area in Zurich-Albisrieden, between the extensive grounds of the municipal nursery and the Letzi school building. Characteristic of the surroundings are the ever-opening view axes into the depths of the plots and a dense greenery with mighty trees. Today, the settlement no longer fully meets the needs for living in old age. While Espenhof South will be preserved as a witness of its time, the replacement building Espenhof North will take the opportunity to create more living space and implement innovative concepts.
Three typologically strongly related buildings of different heights form an ensemble and interweave the new retirement community with the heterogeneous surroundings and the green space. Along Fellenbergstrasse and Langgrütstrasse, two lower annexes accompany the street spaces, creating an appropriate scale and leaving the view of the Albis chain of hills unobstructed. Towards the centre of the site, the buildings form "heads" that create references to the existing trees and formally tie the three houses together into a single unit. A concise and public focal point is established in the new settlement. The mighty tree population is largely preserved and supplemented with aspen and oak trees. All public and semi-public uses are arranged on the ground floor, as well as ground-floor flats with direct access via the access arbour. The majority of the 155 flats are 2.5-room flats, which are organised around a central zone with kitchen, bathroom and cloakroom and are oriented east-west. On the courtyard side, there is a generous entrance and dining area with direct access to the communal loggia, which is shared by two flats each. In the "heads" and on the street side across the corner, the staircases are organised as multiple flights. These flats are also oriented on two sides via corner windows and are characterised by their proximity to the treetops and views into the open spaces. All flats benefit from access to a communal loggia as well as to an individual outdoor space to the east or west. The new buildings respond to the heterogeneous surroundings with a natural restraint reminiscent of buildings from the garden city. A light-looking wooden construction vertically divides the façade. On the ground floor, the wooden double supports leading downwards accompany the pergola. This motif is reminiscent of the inventoried Espenhof Süd housing estate opposite the street and captures the courtyard space within the settlement. According to the jury, the new centre with the communal area around the large, identity-defining beech tree, which links the SAW housing estate with the public open space and provides opportunities for people to meet, is valuable in terms of urban climate.