Architecture: EM2N Architekten AG, Zurich  (Mathias Müller & Daniel Niggli).
Architecture team:
Partners: Mathias Müller, Daniel Niggli Overall leaders: Björn Rimner (Associate), Christof Zollinger (Associate).
Project leaders: Enis Basartangil, Nils Heffungs, Fabian Hörmann (Associate, Project man­agement competition), Jochen Kremer.
Project team: Marius Annen, John Baker, Stefan Berle, Benoît Clément, Ruben Gonzalvo Daluz, Melih Dilsiz, David Duca, Vera Egli, Markus Emde, Jerome Fischer, Christian Furrer, Marita Gelze de Montiel, Frank Gysi, Nadine Hagen, Sabrina Kählert, Sophie Kaiffer, Orkun Kasap, Roman Koch, Jörn Küsters, Andrea Landell (Subproject manage­ment special rooms), Verena Lindenmayer, Loan Ly, Raul Mera, Yoshihiro Nagamine, Klaudija Oroshi, Claudia Peter, Paritteepan Premraj, Yves Reichenbach, Gabriela Rutz, Katie Schakat, Ines Schmid, Martin Schriener, Caroline Senn, Christiane Singer, Tomoko Suzuki, Norbert Zambelli.
Location: Pfingstweidstrasse 96, CH-8005 Zurich, Switzerland.
Client: Allreal Toni AG represented by Allreal Generalunternehmung AG.
Photographs: Filip DujardinValentin Jeck, Simon Menges and Roland Tännler.

The conversion of the large former Toni milk processing building into a location for educa­tion, culture and housing creates a link between two very topical developments. On the one hand, it establishes a new focal point for educational facilities within the landscape of third-level education institutions in Switzerland, which has been massively remodelled over the last few years. On the other hand, for some time now the outlying area of Zurich’s District 5 has been undergoing an urban planning process that is transforming it from a mono-functional industrial zone into a mixed-function urban district, which is changing and shaping the char­acter of the entire city. The aim of the commissioned study was to formulate a concept for a building that is almost the size of an entire urban block. The question was how to achieve a productive coexistence of different functions in the interior, while providing a positive impetus for the adjoining urban areas. We therefore started from the assumption that this task is not, primarily, an architectural one but rather an urban planning and program-related question. Our design suggested dealing with the size of the project by means of a kind of internal urbanism. The existing system of ramps was reinterpreted as a vertical boulevard and became the building’s main circulation system. As a counterpart to this we placed a large entrance hall, conceived as a public space, at the intersection of the high-rise and the lower parts of the building. An internal spatial figure is created that is connected by a series of halls, squares, voids and cascading staircases. It helps establish identity and places the many different functions like the buildings in a city, working as a kind of spatial catalyst that makes internal exchange possible. At the same time, through its variety of functions, the building emanates outwards and becomes the central public space for the new urban district. Through the generously dimensioned roof garden, a piece of outdoor space is given back to the district and the campus.



In addition to the urban planning challenges, many different questions were also posed at an architectural level: for instance, how to deal in design terms with the extremely divergent scales and with the large number of very specific functions; or what overall atmospheric mood is most appropriate for such an extremely dense complex. In this regard the exist­ing industrial building offered productive resistance and served as a constant sparring partner. Its performative and spatial qualities live on, either directly or indirectly, in the new building, starting with the sculptural form of the building with its wavy expanded metal façade – an interpretation of the original trapezoid profile metal sheeting – and including the concrete plinth that develops the topography of the former delivery infrastructure, as well as the formative horizontal, vertical and diagonal spatial sequences within the building. The industrial character of the interior, with its exposed service runs, is derived from the visual imagery of the old milk processing plant. The raw, immediate materiality of the spaces in the interior is not a self-serving aesthetic exercise; it creates an open framework for the activities of the students and lecturers. The building on the Toni Site is intended to be approachable – the kind of building that can deal pragmatically with the constant pressure for change that a lively university campus exerts on its spaces. Here, appropriation, change and exchange are expressly desired. To create diversity and variety the architecture works with various degrees of refinement at different places: generally raw, here and there more refined, some­times over-defined, mostly under-defined. A wide range of extremely different spaces is created, extending from functional public halls and circulation spaces to intimate rehearsal cabinets and from the multi-functional workshop to the highly specialized sound studio: the building as city, the city as building.


Site Plan14_EM2N_Toni-Areal_Level_3_Ground_Floor
18_EM2N_Toni-Areal_Sections Sections

Tenants Toni-Areal: Canton Zurich, represented by the Department of Education Canton Zurich (client, com­missioner for the fitting-out of the interior).
User Toni-Areal:
Zurich University of Applied Sciences ZHAW (22% of the users, 15% of the usable floor area): 1,100 students, 250 lecturers and staff.
Zurich University of the Arts ZHdK (78% of the users, 85% of the usable floor area): 2,500 students, 1,400 lecturers and staff.
Site area: 24,400 sq.m.
Gross floor area: 125,000 sq.m.
Total usable floor area: 108,000 sq.m.
Underground parking lot: 7,000 sq.m.
Building volume: 493,400 m3.
Building dimensions: length 170 m, width 90 m.
Building height: tower 75 m from the level of the city, low-rise building 25 m from the level of the city.
Investment costs (Allreal): 547 million CHF.
Tenant fitting-out (Canton): 139 million CHF.
Tenant equipment, fittings etc. (Canton): 89 million CHF.
Sustainability: MINERGIE® certified.
Cost and project management: b+p baurealisation AG, Zurich.
Landscape architecture: Studio Vulkan Landschaftsarchitektur, Zurich.
Civil engineer: Walt + Galmarini AG, Zurich.
Façade planner: gkp Fassadentechnik AG, Aadorf.
Fire protection planner: Gruner AG, Basel.
Planning building automation: ISP und Partner AG, Hochdorf.
Planning and coordination HVAC technology: Portman Planung with Büro 349 GmbH, Zurich.
Sanitary services and sprinkler system planning: GRP Ingenieure, Rotkreuz.
Building physics, acoustics: Wichser Akustik + Bauphysik AG, Duebendorf.
Special acoustics: applied acoustics GmbH, Gelterkinden.
Electrical services planning: Bürgin & Keller AG, Adliswil.
Lighting design engineers: Vogt & Partner, Winterthur.
Hybrid art installation serving as illumination system for the building’s main circulation: realities:united, studio for art and architecture, Berlin.
Signage: Biv & Hi GmbH, Visuelle Gestaltung c/o Bringolf Irion Vögeli GmbH, Zurich.
Gastronomy planning: Creative Gastro Concept and Design AG, Hergiswil.
Quality control and PQM: Conarenco AG, Zurich.
Information on the former Toni milk processing building:
Architects: A.E. Bosshard + H. Widmer.
Construction: 1972–1977.
Building floor area: 83,000 sq.m.