residential apartments housing

Sheltered on the north side by a multi-layered façade, the building opens up towards the south revealing planted balconies that overlook the garden.

Situated in a sought-after residential area close to the centre of Zurich, the residential building on Sempacherstrasse in Zurich’s Kreis 7 is an excellent example of modern and sustainable town renewal.

An uninspiring apartment block from the 1930s originally occupied the site, which was in urgent need of repair and renovation. A detailed survey of the building showed that everything from the wiring to the plumbing needed replacing. Furthermore, the structure did not allow easy alterations to the cramped plan layout. Calculating the cost for the required work showed a discrepancy between required rental levels after the upgrade and the overall standard achievable. A feasibility study indicated clear overall advantages in the replacement of the existing building with a new one.

The aim for the new building was, therefore, to create: 

  • living structures, which allow flexibility and change for future generations;
  • a modern building that harmoniously connects to the built environment surrounding it;
  • an environmentally-friendly building, taking into account the lifetime cycles of materials.
  • Location

    Sempacherstrasse 19

    Zurich, Switzerland

  • Client


  • Net floor area

    1.500 m2

  • Project started
  • Project completed

The building footprint was established by site constraints and sculpted to suit as many different internal space layouts as possible. This was further enhanced by placing the kitchen and bathroom in the centre of the apartments as natural room dividers. The bathroom walls are made of translucent coloured glass allowing the light to connect the divided spaces.

Externally, the façades reflect the internal layout, and vice versa. The building is clad with translucent overlapping glass ‘shingles’ over coloured insulation, which cover the entire northern façade and gradually open up towards the southern façade.

The façade build-up with coloured insulation and translucent cladding was developed on the basis of a harmonious integration with the surrounding apartment blocks, which are rendered in warm colours and textures. Through careful selection of glass texture and translucency, together with the colour of the underlying insulation, the glass appears to lose its natural hardness, allowing soft and emotional connections. Seasonal and diurnal light changes are resonated in subtle transformations in the appearance of the façade, allowing a harmonious integration of the building within its surroundings.

Project team
Project Director

Stefan Camenzind

Core Team

Stefan Camenzind, Michael Gräfensteiner, Carmen Martin, Franco Pelizza, Brigitta Würsch, Susanne Zenker


Peter Wuermli, Yvonne Trüllinger

This site uses cookies, which may include third party cookies, to improve and personalise your experience on our website. By using our site you accept the terms of our Privacy Policy 

  • Necessary cookies enable core functionality. The website cannot function properly without these cookies, and can only be disabled by changing your browser preferences.