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„Agglo’s Dream“ to become Opfikerpark

The architect’s office Kiefer of Berlin was convincing on account of its simple basic concept. Three elements structure the entire park area: element 1, the “city edge”, is an area of water with promenade, encircling the new buildings and accentuating the city look. Element 2 is the sewage treatment plant area called “Technology-Forest Archipelago” which will be left untouched in its basic structure. Element 3 consists of the “Bridge-Building” component which as gangways will openly lead through the park. These elements constitute the skeleton with open, free spaces emerging in between. The wide-open space facilitates change, offering vast landscaping possibilities for temporary events.

The landscape concept is based on clarity, reduction and relates to the surroundings. The promenade along the city edge becomes the demarcation line between apartment complex and park, thus furthering a sense of identity. The area of the promenade and the wide-open spaces will rise in a slight slope up to five meters to the north in the direction of the highway–a simple noise reduction device and at the same time a southern slope for lying in the sun. Visually, promenade and park appear to vanish in the indefinite.

Why was the decision made in favor of a strictly architectural solution? The proximity of a lake and a promenade carries with it the risk of a swamp developing over time. The close proximity of city life and wild forest would be incompatible with the way glattpark should be used. The originators of glattpark have been putting a lot of emphasis on the identity of the new place. Urbanity is the goal. Thus, the park ground concept was selected.

Projectcompetition october 2002

A park emerges...

The bid for the glattpark project has been decided. The area, previously known as Oberhauserriet, as a result of cooperative planning is called glattpark today. In accordance with the contract, the landowners of the Oberhauserriet agree to pay for a park with lake. The puzzle of land along the Glatt railway is to combine built-up and open spaces. The landscape architects met these complex challenges stipulated in the bid with outstanding proposals.

To some people, this area is Zurich north, to others it is Opfikon south. Other than airline Swiss flying in the sky, there is still nothing to see. The meadow is yet to be turned into an attractive open area, as the initiators of the bid, the cities of Opfikon and Zurich, the Canton of Zurich and the Oberhauserriet landowners, stipulated. The perimeters of the project extend from the planned neighborhood to the west across the Glatt river, to the north to the highway, to the south along Leutschenbach creek to the television studio. A park with a lake, that was the task. To this end, the Glatt river and its tributaries will be revitalized. Sports facilities will have to be expanded, and in front of the television highrise, a square will be built. New paths and bridges for pedestrians and bikers to adjoining neighborhoods will be needed and, of course, so will be a connection with the Glatt railway. Ideas were solicited as to what to do with the now-closed sewage treatment plant Glatt next to the perimeter. Following a public pre-qualification process, 12 interdisciplinary planning teams were invited. The jury met on site in the former bellows hall of the sewage treatment plant to have a view of the huge area comprising 210,000 square meters. However, it is hard to visualize the great density of the adjoining buildings where in the future 6000 people will live and 7300 work.

The victorious project "Agglos Traum" (Agglo's Dream)

The architect's office Kiefer of Berlin was convincing on account of its simple basic concept. Three elements structure the entire park area: element 1, the "city edge", is an area of water with promenade, encircling the new buildings and accentuating the city look. Element 2 is the sewage treatment plant area called "Technology-Forest Archipelago" which will be left untouched in its basic structure. Element 3 consists of the "Bridge-Building" component which as gangways will openly lead through the park. These elements constitute the skeleton with open, free spaces emerging in between. The wide-open space facilitates change, offering vast landscaping possibilities for temporary events. The jury praised the "courage to go for the void." "Wide-open spaces to me signify town quality which you have to stage," said landscape architect Gabriele Kiefer. The landscape concept is based on clarity, reduction and relates to the surroundings. Lake, promenade and square will combine to form a generous park ground measuring 800 meters in length and 60 meters in breadth. A dynamic element of gentle reed, hard concrete, stone baskets and varying water levels will be the stage on which town and country will come together. The area of the promenade and the wide-open spaces will rise in a slight slope up to five meters to the north in the direction of the highway-a simple noise reduction device and at the same time a southern slope for lying in the sun. Visually, promenade and park appear to vanish in the indefinite. The newly planted tree islands will accentuate the transition to the existing industrial architecture of the old sewage treatment plant whose charm will visibly be preserved despite its expansion. The four filter beds each have a diameter of 60 meters. If they were to be used as arenas for special events, they could accommodate 2500 spectators. Skating, volleyball, plays, movies, cabaret, children's games-once glattpark as a "counter-world to the compact city" will have been created, many ideas can flourish there.
Why did the decision go in favor of an architectural solution? The overlapping of lake and promenade, which makes water an object, can also turn into a marshy moat. Does the planned piece of nature fit into the city of Glatt at all? The answer is yes as the compact city area next to the wild forest would not meet the usage needs. Minutely-parceled playfulness imitating an idyllic garden would not tally with the dimensions of the project. The identity of the site is important to the promoters of the Oberhauserriet project. Urbanity is the goal. Thus, the park ground concept was selected.
The runner-up project "Zwischenraum" (intermediate space) by Zulauf Seippel Schweingruber of Baden is a comprehensively formulated proposal showing a variety of usage possibilities. In a heavily modulated landscape, the visitor is guided through the park on many paths including benches to observe the airplanes.

André Schmid and Jens Studer of Zurich won the third prize. Their project "seesee" (lakelake) surprises one with its landscape of water and islands, some areas designated as a forest lake, others as a lake for swimming. What's missing, unfortunately, are generous wide-open spaces. Also, the jury expected this project to be too costly.

Former mayor of Opfikon, Jürg Leuenberger, is optimistic that by 2006, one will be able to ride to the television studio and the WTC by Glatt valley railway and to walk through the glattpark from there. The park is to be the staging ground for the Terra 2006 fair. This gardening fair, according to its promoters to be as international as possible, is to show visitors how privately-owned and public open spaces can be shaped.

The project "Agglos Traum" together with its accessible filter beds to be used for culture and sports would ensure a high quality for glattpark. The city of Zurich is yet to debate funding and availability internally. City councilor Kathrin Martelli has pledged to do everything in her power in order that the ideas of the bid can be realized as a whole. It should be possible to realize the desired concept as the proposal of stepping from an urban carpet onto a green one is awesome. Should "Agglos Traum" become a reality, even skeptics of the city of Glatt will venture a trip to the urban parks in the green (HP 10/2001).

Prize winners

  • Büro Kiefer, Berlin (first rank, first prize)
  • Zulauf Seippel Schweingruber, Baden (second rank, second prize)
  • André Schmid und Jens Studer, Zürich (third rank, third prize)
  • Vetsch, Nipkow Partner, Zürich (fourth rank, first purchase)
  • Stöckli, Kienast & Koeppel, Wettingen (fifth rank, fourth prize)
  • Atelier Dreiseitl, Ueberlingen (purchase)
  • cet-o, Berlin (purchase)
  • Juurlink & Geluk, Rotterdam (purchase)

Jury

  • Andres Nydegger, architect (president)
  • Walter Epli, city councilor of Opfikon
  • Kathrin Martelli, city councilor of Zürich
  • Christian Gabathuler, planner of the Canton of Zürich
  • Konstantin Reiher, representative of the landowners of Oberhauserriet
  • Paul Bauer, Grün Stadt Zürich
  • Bruno Doedens, landscape architect
  • Stefan Rotzler, landscape architect
  • Rudolf Schilling, publicist
  • Udo Weilacher, landscape architect
  • Iris Reuther, architect for city planning
  • Thomas Sieverts, architect

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