New Transformer Station in Zollikon

Client: Gemeindewerke Zollikon
Location: Gstadstrasse, Zollikon
Date: 2006-2007

Integrated in the hillside, this infrastructure project is hardly recognizable as a building, but rather as a landscape intervention. This construction maintains the view to Lake Zurich from Dufourplatz and Bergstrasse, which is a significant aspect of the surrounding public space. Thus, the project allows an important urban space to be occupied as a green, landscaped area, according to the wishes of the local community.

The new input from the cantonal electricity grid is an integral part of the central power supply. The Gstad Transformer Station also provides power to approximately 2000 households as well as street lighting.

As it sits in the landscape, the true dimensions of this new station are invisible from the exterior. Rather than an entire volume, only a folded band appears, receding to form an entrance for utility trucks. After three simple folds, the continuous wall sinks into the ground once again.

The dynamic form of the folded strip is accentuated by the sculptural roof edge. All of the externally visible components are finished in copper sheeting. The facade structure and the detailing of the roof edge emphasize the building’s form and, over the course of weathering, help to express its connection to the earth. At the same time, the copper within electrical cables functions as the main component of the technical inner life of the building, with this purpose made outwardly visible on the facade. Nonetheless, the transformer station’s appearance remains enchantingly mysterious; its overall impression is reminiscent of a bolt of lightning in the landscape.

Project Partners:
– Ernst Basler + Partner AG, Zurich
– DGJ Landscapes, The Hague & Zurich