JED: Join Explore Dare
Reconstruction of the former NZZ printing facility
Phase one 10.000 m2
Total 35.000 m2
Building volume 147.000 m3
Since 2016, Evolution Design has been working on the reconstruction of the «Neue Zürcher Zeitung» printing facility in Schlieren to a striking and contemporary innovation hub.
The project, for Swiss property developer SPS, is called JED, an acronym for Join Dare Explore, and is designed to bring innovation-driven companies together in a space that combines industrial architecture with modern workspace.
Phase one of the project was completed in April 2020 and sees two buildings totalling 10,000sq m converted to offices, workshops and event spaces. These spaces are occupied by one of the anchor tenants, Swiss engineering company Zühlke.
A further 25,000sq metres remain under construction.
The most significant challenge was retaining the industrial feel of the buildings while also accommodating contemporary business needs. Hall 5, which used to house a five-storey high printing press, has become offices and workspaces. Hall 2, previously the folding, bundling and distribution warehouse, is now a mixed-use zone, with meeting rooms and workshops alongside semi-public spaces for events and conferences, all supported by a professional kitchen.
Throughout the project, we used the references to the site’s industrial heritage and retained as much of the original structure and building fabric as was feasible. Where possible, the sense of openness of the halls was preserved to highlight the flow of the buildings and their industrial scale.
In the new office area in Hall 5, we inserted four floors of workspaces. A key element of the design is an open atrium with an internal staircase, which creates connectivity and enables communication between each floor. Openness and transparency were key considerations throughout and windows on each side of the building remain visible, flooding the space with natural light. A glass-encased lift shaft, which renders the mechanics of the system visible, lends the space a sleek industrial feel.
Hall 2, the mixed-use zone, features semi-public spaces and a professional kitchen with a staff restaurant on the ground floor, along with meeting rooms and open plan areas on a mezzanine level above. We inserted a series of black-steel framed meeting rooms into the space. They are designed not to extend the full width of the existing structure in order to enhance the building’s sense of openness. The palette of materials, which includes metallic coated steel, perforated heating and cooling panels, oiled wood and polished concrete floors, also reference the building’s industrial past.
Evolution Design associate and project lead Jessica Mentz says: «Effectively adapting this existing building from an industrial space into an inviting and modern office was a challenge. We had to take into account needs around natural light, acoustics and IT infrastructure while still preserving the industrial feel and acknowledging the building’s past.»