The neighborhood around Obsthaldenstrasse in Zurich’s Affoltern quarter is characterized by a low building density with abundant greenery dispersed throughout and two- to three-story linear buildings of simple construction. Along the edges of the neighborhood are small groupings of single-family houses. The ownership structure includes both private and cooperative buildings. Due to the plot divisions, the many single-family houses, and the corresponding ownership conditions, it is not presumed that the structure of the neighborhood will undergo transformation into a new urban form. The area can instead be expected to maintain its garden city characteristics.
The new structures are designed as “simple buildings” like their surroundings, and while they are in no way inferior to the houses they replace, neither in the dwellings’ fitness for use nor in the solidity of their construction, they both adopt and advance the garden city condition. The three slender linear buildings have only three stories each and – with their shallow, double-pitched roofs and their reserved appearance with stuccoed exteriors – fit well into the surrounding pattern of development. The outdoor space, in its scale, also takes up the existing condition and works with three elements that are typical for the area: house entrances with front gardens, private yards, and a permeable network of paths.
The dwellings can be used flexibly, thus enabling different forms of living to meet the varying lifestyles of individual residents. The compact and regularized floor plans have yielded cost-effective apartments, but multiple connections in the form of circular internal paths among the individual spaces nevertheless create an impression of spatial generosity.
The exterior openings, some of which are relatively large in relation to the building form, give the buildings their own distinct scale and make them look smaller than they actually are. In addition, their three stories are articulated by a solid concrete base, the stuccoed midsection, and a strongly delineated roof. Along their length, the buildings are given rhythm and visually shortened by projecting elements and alternating vertical bands of roughcast and smooth stucco. The facade reliefs by the artist Christian Hörler tell of everyday life and are related typologically to the gable decoration of the cooperative apartment houses from the 1940s.