The Superblock in Wintethur is the winning design, commissioned by international insurers AXA and the city of Winterthur, for converting a former industrial site in the heart of the Swiss city. But it’s much more than that. It’s a striking design, by Krischanitz Architects in Vienna, with brilliant execution.
Combining and preserving a former workshop – an enormous space where the once legendary Swiss Sulzer diesel engines were assembled – with newly constructed yet visually complementary buildings, The Superblock adapts and reuses the former industrial site exceptionally well.
The striking new complex houses both Winterthur's municipal administration team and 1000 AXA employees in three, six storey, modern office buildings equipped with state-of-the-art technologies and various amenities. These include covered garages for 463 cars, a bike storage area, employee restaurant, a daycare facility (located on the old Sulzer workshop site) and a commercial kitchen.
To achieve a timeless and aesthetically pleasing office space for the more than 2000 workers in The Superblock, the material palette includes architectural terrazzo in a moncervetto tone for the flooring, staircases and interior finishes. It is a material regularly chosen for commercial office spaces for the excellent technical qualities it provides – including its strength and durability, as well as its fire resistance, slip resistance and water repellent nature.
The Superblock also includes 18 residential apartments. And central to these elongated buildings is a much used, publicly accessible courtyard, which provides a light-filled space for office workers, residents and the public to enjoy.
The innovative and practical design by Krischanitz Architects has successfully preserved and integrated the old industrial site with new, and is a great example of industrial history meeting modern design in the heart of a city, for the benefit of the community.
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Architects: Krischanitz Architects
Product: Moncervetto Terrazzo