Zürich 2019 – The perfect recipe for an ideal Swiss city? A picturesque old town with cobbled streets populated by fancy bistros and boutiques… all framed by a great alpine-scape and turquoise lakes or rivers. That’s what you should expect from Zürich. But Switzerland’s largest city and financial capital offers much more than that, starting from its contemporary architecture and cutting-edge design vibe. Check what we liked the most!
- RELATED STORIES: read more about Switzerland on Archipanic…
PRACTICAL INFO – As one of the wealthiest cities in the world Zurich is quite expensive. Plan flights and accommodation in advance. To move around, get a ZurichPass that allows unlimited public transport as well as a free entry ticket for most of the main museums. Remind that on Monday, they are generally closed. If you don’t speak German, do not worry, English is broadly spoken.
Get lost in the AltStadt – Old Town in German! Enjoy the lake promenades and cross romantic bridges to capture some of the most picturesque glimpses of the city. Make sure to visit the Grossmünster cathedral, shop – or window-shop – along Bahnhofstrasse and enjoy the state of the art of chocolate at Sprüngli. One of the best spots? Relax under the big tree in the small square in front of St. Peter church!
CHAGALL’S VISIONARY STAIN GLASS – Make sure tuo visit Fraumünster. With its green bell tower, Zürich’s landmark monument and main Parish church played an important role during the city’s Reformation; here, in the ’60s, Marc Chagall created a stunning stain glass art work located behind the former altar.
A CONTEMPORARY WINE FOUNTAIN? In the square next to the church, a contemporary fountain hides a secret. A 4m high bronze inflow resemblin a swan neck pours water into a large artificial stone basin. Aside, a small bowl is designed as a drinking fountain… and a wine fountain as well! Two local guilds required that the fountain could dispense an open air aperitifs on special occasions thanks to a special device connected to the fountain’s well.
CABARET VOLTAIRE + CAFÉ BAR ODEON – The Niederhof district on the Limmat river East bank is the birthplace of the Dada art movement. Here, in 1916, Hans Arp, Hugo Ball and other exiled artists used to hang out at the Cabaret Voltaire and the Odeon Café to question the whole art system.
After decades of despair, Cabaret Voltaire has come back to life as art space showcasing exhibitions and performances. With its stunning Art Nouveau interiors, the Café Bar Odeon has always been the meeting point for international intellectuals such as James Joyce, Albert Einstein, the Dadaists and more.
LAW LIBRARY – From the outside it is a stunning historic building – designed by Hermann Fietz in 1908. As you walk in, discover an unexpected oval wonder of light and awesomeness signed by Santiago Calatrava.
EXTENSION OF THE SWISS NATIONAL MUSEUM – The Swiss National Museum, a late 19th century beauty by Gustav Gull, was in need of additional space. A by Christ & Gantenbein adjoined new wing in the Platzspitz Park to solve the problem. The new structure, a vast concrete monolith, stands in stark contrast to the historical stone structure, for the joy of all Brutalist lovers.
“The expressive folds in the rooftops can be understood as a contemporary interpretation of Gull’s articulated historicism,” say at Christ & Gantenbein. “The new is thus inconceivable without the old, but is nonetheless unmistakably modern.”
ZÜRICH ON THE LAKE
Those who haven’t be on Zürich lake haven’t been in Zürich at all says a local proverb. Indeed, there is plenty of activities to do, from swimming, boating, having a picnic or simply sunbathing. There is also plenty of architecture to discover. From Le Corbusier’s pavilion to unexpected contemporary buildings and a brilliant Chinese garden.
PAVILION LE CORBUSIER – Like a Mondrian’s painting turned into architecture, Pavilion Le Corbusier – the Swiss architect’s latest building – has recently re-opened to the public after extensive renovation. Commissioned by gallerist Heidi Weber, Le Corbusier’s friend and admirer, the building has a facade formed of large enamel panels painted in white and primary colours, and is topped by a roof terrace accessed by a concrete ramp and sheltered by a distinctive free-floating canopy. Inside, the architect designed every detail of the pavilion from the kitchen to door handles.
ZAZ CENTER FOR ARCHITECTURE – Almost in front of the Pavilion Le Corbusier, the experimental venue addresses the city “as a place that shapes our lives – and at the same time comes into existence through our use.” The pilot project offers a wide range of exhibitions and workshop bringing together city planners, builders and bus drivers, architects and schoolchildren, researchers and city walkers, homeowners and squatters.
FERROHAUS + DYNAMIC APARTMENTS – Not far, other unexpected buildings await to be discovered. In 34 Bellerivestrasse, the Ferrohaus is a Blade Runner-like iron building inspired by Mayan pyramids. Built in 1970 the structure was designed by Justus Dahinden and it now hosts a surgery clinic.
In 25 Höschgasse, Manuel Herz Architects has completed an apartment block with dynamic facades with louvres that function as retractable balconies as well as sun shading. The building which pays tribute to Le Corbusier’s Pavilion colour palette, can be rented on AirBnB as well!
Where ships were once built and engines bolted together, art, design and architecture are now thriving. Factories have moved away, leaving their vast expanses of space that creative minds have taken advantage of. Make sure to dedicate at least a whole afternoon to explore the hip Züri-West!
LÖWENBRÄUREAL – A dozen of art institutions thrives in Löwenbräu’s former brewery. Annette Gigon and Mike Guyer were commissioned to redevelop the site. The duo added rectangular blocks – one in white, one in black and one in red – with the central asymmetrical dark tower protruding out over the original buildings in a daring cantilevered construction.
FRAU GEROLD GARTEN + SURF BAR – Vines and vegetables grow by the train rail tracks at Frau Gerold Garten. The popular venue thrives as an urban garden populated by stacked shipping containers. Few blocks away, surfers can hone their skills on a panoramic roofbar with a surfing-pool overlooking the trains passing by.
MUSEUM FÜR GESTALTUNG is the leading Swiss museum of design and visual communication. Its massive collection comprising over half a million objects from the history of design is the starting point to a rich program of exhibitions engages with current themes and issues from the various design genres shaping everyday visual life. The institution takes over two venues, one in Ausstellungstrasse, the newest one – TonyAerial – is in Pfingstweidstrasse.
IM VIADUCT – Under the 36 arches of Zurich’s railway viaduct, a colorful mix of delicatessens, studio galleries, sport and fashion boutiques is open to the public. At the heart of it all is the Market Hall where local farmers and food vendors offer their products.
PULS5 – Designed by Kyncl Gasche & Partner, Puls5 is the ultimate post-industrial re-birth in Zürich. The venue comprises public spaces mixed with offices and private apartments and combines its industrial mood with a trendy, urban attitude.
MUSEUM HAUS KONSTRUKTIV – The historically impressive ewz-Unterwerk Selnau building, which provided the city with electricity until 1998, has been transformed into a vibrant museum. Five floors of exhibition space offer spectacular art. The cherry of the cake is the museum’s top floor where the unique exposed metal structure from the 1940s can be spotted, and the equally impressive library.