Conen Sigl clads Westhof Dübendorf in corrugated steel

Architect: Conen Sigl
Location: Dübendorf, Switzerland
Completion Date: 2023

Swiss firm Conen Sigl has delivered Westhof Dübendorf, a new housing cooperative sited just outside of Zürich. Located in Dübendorf’s Hochbord district, the development was permitted through rezoning that allows for residential construction in the former industrial neighborhood. The architecture of the new complex is highly contextual, referencing the area’s industrial past, as well as the site’s previous usage as a plant nursery. Conen Sigl designed the structure with corrugated steel cladding and added rooftop pergolas to provide space for communal gardens.

01 ConenSigl Westhof Groundfloor 1 500 e1718908782305
Site plan (Courtesy Conen Sigl)

Organized around a central courtyard, the new development consists of three volumes. The largest is rectangular in plan and rises 9 stories, containing the bulk of the residential units. This building connects to a roughly L-shaped wing, rising three stories, that features community gardens on its roof. An offset 4 story tower was placed at the entrance to the courtyard.

In reference to the site’s past use as a bird sanctuary, Conen Sigl implemented a series of steel-framed pergolas along the roof of the development’s L-shaped wing. These structures are designed to support communal gardening.

The building’s corrugated steel cladding was manufactured locally by Eternit. This system was chosen because of its proximity to the construction site, as well as its propensity for easy disassembly and future reuse.

Steel-framed pergolas
Steel-framed pergolas will allow a community garden to grow across the roof. (Roman Keller)

Westhof Dübendorf is located alongside train tracks separating Hochbord from Allmend Stettbach, a nature preserve. Taking advantage of this proximity, the architects worked to attract local bird and insect species to the terraces. This included collaboration with Jörg Kohler, a member of the family that owned the former plant nursery, to develop nesting aides along the terraces. Aides were created for eight species of birds, as well as bats and bees.

Outdoor space is privileged throughout the complex, not just within the terraces. The main residential building is punctured by covered balcony space that overlook the central courtyard.

Per Swiss building code, soundproof glazing was required on the 3-story wing facing the train tracks. Soundproofing across this volume also helps to decrease noise in the central courtyard and along the balconies of the 9-story volume.

bold, primary-colored kitchen cabinets
Westhof Dübendorf’s De Stijl kitchen cabinetry. (Roman Keller)

Westhof Dübendorf’s muted exterior coloration is punctuated throughout by bright splashes of primary color, such as kitchen cabinetry on the interior or colorful steel trash bins placed along the rooftop terrace.

biker in front of Westhof
The housing cooperative delivers both affordable and sustainable living. (Roman Keller)

In total, Westhof Dübendorf delivers 87 residential units. The project is powered from renewable energy sources and has received a Swiss Sustainable Building Certification (SNBS). Through its cooperative model, the development is also affordable.

“With Westhof Dübendorf, we hope to contribute a new way of urban living, where the quality of life for residents and the community is increased, and where we have a positive impact on the larger urban fabric,” said Maria Conen and Raoul Sigl, fonding partners of Conen Sigl.

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