Agora for Seebach
David Riedo
FS  2022  Re form


An Agora for Seebach - A new, „cultural and symbolic center“ for the neighborhood of Zurich Seebach. The architect of St. Mark‘s Church and later city architect of Zurich, Albert Heinrich Steiner, saw the situation on the Buhn-hill with the Buhnrain schoolhouse and St. Mark‘s Church as an optimal example of the center of a neighborhood. Unfortunately, not much of this can be seen today. the project is to change this! Although the buildings of St. Maark‘s Church and the Buhnrain Schoolhouse are almost built together, they do not have much in common. The project was to bring these two institutions together, one has too much - the other too little space, especially in view of the Mittagstisch 2025, where all schools in Zurich have to offer a day school structure with Lunch table for all students and for which the Buhnrain school building cannot offer any space.

Intervention points of the project - In order to connect the two institutions, more space is needed between them and a more direct connection between the school building and the community hall. The demolition of the no longer contemporary caretaker‘s apartment of the church creates a square between the buildings.

A new neighborhood square is created - The free square between the school and the church is to become a meeting place for the residents of the rapidly growing Seebach neighborhood. The population can meet there and linger in the various squares or gardens, an agora for Seebach.

New access and conversion of the room- The parish hall will get a new vestibule, oriented to the square. The caretaker‘s apartment of the school will be converted into a neighborhood space, as well as the arcade of the school will be extended and the volume broken through, connecting the two buildings more directly. Public toilets will be installed in the opening of the school.

A new axis connects the Church garden- A new path runs between the two buildings and connects the road leading up the hill, the „Höhenring“ with the upper neighborhood. The path is made of spolia of stones from the city of Zurich and stones from the quarry at the foot of the hill. This new axis at right angles to the large schoolhouse square connects the new neighborhood square with the church garden, which is currently little used and beautifully situated over Zurich Seebach / Oerlikon. The Landscape by landscape architect Gustav Ammann will be carefully extended. Outside, on a hilltop at the edge of the hill, a Monopteros, a viewing pavilion above the „Theater of the Goats“ is being built.

A shelter with multiple functions - The address from the north is formed by a paved square. This is followed by the new path with slight steps and a slight slope. A shelter with fine wooden supports follows this path and lends itself to various uses. Be it as a market stall for a neighborhood market or as a bicycle parking. The square is available for larger events such as a market or a neighborhood festival.

A garden pavilion as a focal point - The outdoor space design by Gustav Amman is carefully completed and meanders through the Gap, thus connecting the currently unused garden of the church with the new agora. The garden, in the most beautiful location above Seebach with a view of Oerlikon, is supplemented with an Odeon, a garden pavilion. This is available for smaller events. Together with the garden or the community hall, it can also be part of a larger event, for example, before a party in the hall, the aperitif can be drunk in the garden. The wooden pavilion with supports made of tree trunks fits perfectly in the context of the group of trees planted by Amman.