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Spatial Design


Kraftwerk Zürich Selnau

Team Design:

Michal Krzywdziak: Michal Krzywdziak, Architekt MSc ETH SIA; UX-Designer/ -Researcher: Michel Fernandez; Lighting Design: Roger Bless; On-Site Construction Supervision: Andrea Joller Architektin HSLU


Team Client / Owner:

ewz Elektrizitätswerke Zürich: Urs Müller, Stéphanie Engels, Iris Mathez, Patrick Cappellaro


Team User:

Impact Hub Zürich: Carole Douchy, Georgios Kontoleon


A former transformer hall belonging to the Zurich municipal electricity works under monument protection, which was most recently used only sporadically for cultural events, was to be converted into an “innovation power plant” for a transitional stage of five to ten years: an exciting, multifunctional location that serves as an open, urban platform for forward-looking people and ideas. It was envisaged that the facility would have a publicly accessible catering business, an event space together with meeting rooms and workshops. In view of the temporary nature of the intervention, the protected historical shell, a tight timetable and a limited budget, an unconventional solution needed to be found. The architect Michal Krzywdziak developed a concept based on re-design and upcycling together with the project partners: on the one hand, freight containers that were no longer seaworthy were used for zoning the hall and on the other hand they provided a shell for the meeting rooms. Furniture found in second hand shops was used to fit out the café-restaurant.

Comments of the nominators

Like so often in design, it was also precisely the limitations in this project – budget, timetable and monument protection conditions – that led to an unconventional and lastly convincing approach to a solution. The re-use of selected shipping containers and the upgrading of second-hand furniture seems not only sensible and appropriate to the temporary project, but also generates added value from a design perspective.