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Chair of Architecture and Urban Design
Asst. Prof. Dr. Alex Lehnerer

Master thesis

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Master thesis


The Niederdorf, formerly a market town, then the city center, was for a long time a center of life in the city of Zurich. In recent urban development, the Niederdorf has gradually lost importance. Although the old town arouses the interest of many visitors, from the city dwellers, the Niederdorf is often perceived only marginally and usually visited only sporadically. Various reasons have led to the formerly very dense and lively district having calmed down. The preservation of the current state, the old town as a picture taking into account the (peace) needs of the residents, is in the foreground. This condition hardly leaves room for something new and original. The Niederdorf must be revitalized again and different developments can be allowed

Separation of functions and changes in the development of the neighborhood will enable a diverse and more intensive use of the area.

The project separates private living spaces from publicly accessible areas. At the same time, the traditional horizontal separation between the public basement floor and the private standard storey is being transformed vertically. The structure runs vertically inside individual buildings and divides the house and the quarter with its exterior spaces into two areas, namely the private world of the residents on the one side and the more accessible world for the public on the other side.

A system of existing and new developments also makes the upper storeys accessible and allows access to the public on the upper floors. It connects the hairdressing salon on the 1st floor, the bookshop on the 3rd floor and the bar with roof terrace. At the same time, the inner openings can also be used as paths. The accessibility to the top floor and the use of the built structure as path sections through the quarter blur the boundaries between outside and inside. On the way through the building, there is a greater proximity between visitors and shops. This allows visitors to experience the urban space on all levels and strengthens the sense of belonging to the room.

The new functional structure within the buildings will further facilitate alternative routing through the neighborhood. Instead of the Niederdorfstrasse as a linear main access, where some people stream through the old town without stopping, there is a succession of different collective spaces. At the same time, the space situations created from the 1940s onwards and little noticed until today are becoming more important. The separation should create the freedom to design the space according to the ideas of each affiliated function. Without conflicts, the space can be used and developed more intensively. The pedestal uses, which are valued for their specific nature, may perhaps contain a wider offer in their spatial summary and thus become more attractive.

Project by: Sonja Widmer
Trennung im Innern der Häuser

Nachbarschaftliche Wohnstrassen und Plätze
Neue Wegführung als Anfolge von unterschiedlichen Räumen
Vertikale Trennung von Regelgeschoss & Sockelgeschoss
Grundriss der privaten Aussenräume und der Wohnungen im Erdgeschoss
Grundriss der öffentlichen Aussenräume und der Sockelnutzung im Obergeschoss
Grundriss 1.OG
Grundriss 1.OG
Grundriss Erdgeschoss
Die Gasse als Rückzugsort
Die Wohnräume orientieren sich an der Wandfigur
Die trennende Linie verschafft Dichte
verwischte Grenze
zwischen Aussenraum und Raum im Haus
3. Obergeschoss mit Nähe zum Publikum
Ein öffentlicher Innenraum.
Ein öffentlicher Innenraum.
Eine öffentliche Dachterrasse