The New Tamedia Building
Tamedia provides the possibility of discovering and exploring the office building by Japanese architect Shigeru Ban virtually: Interested persons can take a 360-degree tour of the building at Stauffacher in Zurich. The newsroom of Tages-Anzeiger, the newsroom of 20 Minuten and the ground floor with reception, staff restaurant, lobby and mezzanine gallery can be visited and provide a look «behind the scenes» of a large media company. A great variety of information texts as well as before and after photos (pictures of the construction site and current photos of the same area of the building) supplement the tour.
The Tamedia media group's office building at Stauffacher in Zurich was opened in 2013. Japanese architect Shigeru Ban has designed a unique building consisting of wood and glass that offers high-calibre workplaces for some 480 employees of 20 Minuten, the Tages-Anzeiger and other media; it also represents a sustainable and lasting contribution to architecture in the city of Zurich.
Over the course of a century, the Werdareal site has evolved into a major hub of Swiss media activity. Numerous media enterprises have flocked to this site by the river Sihl since this trend began in 1902, when the editorial offices and printing works of the Tages-Anzeiger opened there. Before the move into the new building in 2013, about 1,200 people were working on the site. New locations in and around Zurich were repeatedly added due to a series of acquisitions over the years. These properties were spread over several districts of the city, and they did not offer workplaces of uniform quality. This situation prompted Tamedia's decision to concentrate the majority of its Zurich media on the Werdareal site – signalling the group's clear commitment to Zurich as a location and attesting the company's 100 years of allegiance to the Aussersihl district. Since the move into the new building, over 1,500 people have been working on this site.
Wooden supporting structure and magnificent glass facade
The volume of Shigeru Ban's building conforms to the usual perimeter development and construction height standards in this district, and its mansard roof and overheight ground floor are in keeping with the typical characteristics of architecture in the Aussersihl quarter. At the same time, the new structure stands out because of its sustainable construction techniques and materials. The defining feature of the building is a wooden supporting structure for which 2,000 cubic meters of spruce wood were used. This supporting structure performs its function without any additional steel reinforcements, and was assembled on site from prefabricated components that were precision-milled down to the last millimeter. The magnificent glass facade creates a bright and welcoming interior ambience.
A sustainable contribution to architecture
Tamedia's aim was to make this building as sustainable as possible. A double facade facing the Sihl river acts as a buffer against climatic conditions as well as a natural ventilation system, and it affords space for meeting rooms and lounges that can be opened up to give onto the river. Wood is a renewable construction material, and its use helped to reduce emissions even during the construction phase. The building will also be operated without CO2 and will not make any use of nuclear power. Moreover, fossil fuels are eliminated thanks to a futuristic heating and cooling system that utilises the groundwater.
Shigeru Ban: Original Visions and unexpected Designs
Shigeru Ban takes the simplicity of traditional Japanese architecture as the keynote of his buildings. He achieves perfect harmony between eastern and western building styles and methods: he adopts elements of classical Japanese architecture and re-interprets them in the light of western influences. Shigeru Ban is currently Professor of Architecture at Keio University and is also a guest lecturer at various other universities across the globe; his works are so exceptional that he was awarded the Thomas Jefferson Foundation Medal in Architecture in 2005. "Time" magazine describes him as one of the key innovators for the 21st century in the field of architecture and design.
Visionary Use of Recycable Materials
Shigeru Ban was born in Tokyo in 1957 and after studying architecture in Los Angeles and New York, he opened an architectural practice in Tokyo. His cardboard tube structures have aroused enormous interest. As long ago as 1986, he discovered the benefits of this recyclable and resilient material that is also easy to process. Shigeru Ban built the Japanese pavilion for the Expo 2000 world exposition at Hanover – a structure made of cardboard tubes that measured 75 meters in length and 15 meters in height. All the materials used in the structure were recycled after the exhibition. This visionary genius developed a genuine style of "emergency architecture" as a response to the population explosion and to natural disasters: the foundations of his low-cost houses are made of beer crates filled with sand, and the walls consist of foil-covered cardboard tubes. A house of this sort can be erected in less than seven hours, and is considerably more sturdy than a tent.
First Project in Switzerland
Shigeru Ban's concepts are viewed as pioneering trends in contemporary architecture. He also develops his ideas for conventional uses – as evidenced by an extensive portfolio of projects across the globe, ranging from detached houses and churches to entire residential complexes or museum buildings such as the Centre Pompidou Art Museum in Metz. The focus of all his designs is not on glittering facades but on the character of each building. Making the supporting structures transparent has become one of Shigeru Ban's trademarks – his technique literally enables us to comprehend and envision the construction and statics of a building. The new building for Tamedia on the Werdareal site in Zurich is Shigeru Ban's first construction project in Switzerland.
Timeline for the construction of the new Tamedia Building
The application for the building permit was submitted on 30 January 2009.
(Photo: Architect Shigeru Ban and Pietro Supino, Chairman of the Board of Directors)
The old buildings were demolished from February to March 2011.
The foundation stone was laid on 19 August 2011.
Assembly of the wooden structure began in April 2012.
The topping-out ceremony took place on 24 August 2012.
The facade was closed in October 2012.
The interior fit-out was completed in April 2013.
The official opening of the new building is to take place on 9 July 2013.
Facts and Figures about an extraordinary new Building
Storeys: 7 (including mezzanine gallery)
Floor Area of the new Building: 8'905 m2
Cubic Volume of new Building: 39'085 m3
Additional Storey Area Stauffacherquai 8: 1'350 m2
Additional Storey Volume Stauffacherquai 8: 6'890 m3
Wood used in Construction: 2'000 m3 Spruce (Styria)
Architect: Shigeru Ban Architects Europe, Paris
General planner: Itten+Brechbühl AG, Zurich
General Contractor: HRS Real Estate AG, Frauenfeld
Wooden Construction: Blumer-Lehmann AG, Gossau