Jardin Dufaux

How to create ‘home’ in a newly constructed overspill town in the agglomeration of a big city?
How to still plant vegetation volumes, even if no natural soil under the roots exists?
How to integrate all technical requirements and infrastructures without losing spatial qualities?
What does a contemporary urban garden in a densified city look like?

These questions of contemporary landscape architecture needed to be addressed here. The parameters were extremely limiting, yet the result was expected to be self-evident and easy to impropriate. Therefore, the concept is driven by the strategy of integration and superposition.

The project ‘Jardin Dufaux’ is a fragment of an extended urban development near Zurich. The U-shape of the building – given by the masterplan – creates two different typologies of open spaces: the patio and the street side. The main impulses for the concept were two questions: How to create an identity for the future residents of this “satellite-city” and how to react cleverly to the contemporary topic of building roof gardens. The patio is the heart of the newly built structure. It is an intimate but robust urban garden that can be used manifold. The modulation of the ground adopts the natural inclination of the parcel. By introducing horizontal surfaces the courtyard can be structured into transitory zones and zones for rest. At the same time the modulation generates enough volume of soil to allow the vegetation to grow. Implementing reliefs and varying grain sizes, such as coloured asphalt (moving area), crushed rock (retention areas), and fine gravel (resting areas), the scale of the courtyard is differentiated. The concept of the vegetation is inspired by the characteristic forest typology of the area: the ‘Föhren-Birkenbruchwald’. A strong volume of trees forms the centre of the courtyard inviting people to play or rest in the shadow. A group of Betulas forms a filter and limits the space towards the backside of the neighbouring building. The plantation of different volumes of ornamental grasses creates an intimate garden area.

The courtyard is a place to play, meet or retreat. The gravelled grove, the squares, the rooms inside the vegetation volumes, the movable furniture, and the spotlights allow the residents to experience the seasons.

Landscape architect: mavo Landschaften
Other design firms involved: architecture by neff neumann architekten ag
Project location: Opfikon Glattbrugg, Switzerland
Design year: Competition 2011, 1. Prize ( as vi.vo. architecture. Landscape), Design 2012 – 2014
Year Built: 2014 – 2015

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