BURCKHARDT & PARTNERS – RADERSCHALL PARTNERS
The MFO Park in North Zurich, Switzerland is an urban green space that was once polluted with construction debris, sand from the foundry, and ash due to its previous use as a site for Oerlikon Machine Works. To counteract the pollution, the park features the “Park House,” a large framework overgrown with blooming and aromatic climbers, creating a lush and green space.
The atrium area of the “Park House” is open on three sides and features a pool set into a sunken area that reflects the slanting light. The space between the double walls is filled with flights of stairs, colonnades, and projecting loggias, with a sun deck at the top that offers a panoramic view of the city.
The atrium of the “Park House” is suitable for various activities, such as sports, games, concerts, and theatre performances. The space also includes small rooms available for reading, dreaming, and relaxing. The park’s design features a translucent atrium, which refers to the industrial building volumes of North Oerlikon, but in a new and poetic way. The park’s polyvalent “park space” is available to everyone for a wide range of activities and events. The “trellised latticework” steel structure of the “Park House” is erected on low foundations with interlinked stainless steel wire espaliers around the “walls” and “roof.” The entire park area is floored with cohesive clay, and the hedgerows alternate yew and beech. Rainwater is collected and fed to the roots, and the park’s volume allows for retention during times of heavy rainfall, which can be slowed and safely fed into the sewers.
The climbing plants planted in the park include wisteria, grapevine, ampelopsis, and parthenocissus, among others, creating perfumes, attractive forms, and colours for the corridors, loggias, and balconies. The park undergoes pronounced seasonal changes, with the construction coming to light during winter, only to vanish under a layer of green during the growing period, and gleams with the red of wild vine during fall. The play of light and shade in the park creates a series of ever-changing moods, with the summer’s heat pleasantly tempered, and the structures of the square and atrium lit up at night.