Magnificent double skin glass façade created using WICONA glazing systems

The new headquarters for the publishing group, Tamedia, features specially-adapted aluminium glazing systems from WICONA, which have helped to create a magnificent and highly sustainable glass and timber building in the heart of Zurich’s media district.

Designed by one of Japan’s leading architects, Shigeru Ban, the scheme successfully brings together the simplicity of traditional Japanese architecture and western building styles to create a genuinely unique building that contributes to the corporate image of the media group and reflects its ethos of transparency and innovation.

The building’s design had to follow Switzerland’s stringent energy regulations and conform to local height and perimeter development restrictions. The result is an impressive carbon neutral scheme which has a highly innovative prefabricated timber structure. This was precision engineered and assembled without the need for any fixings whatsoever. The beautiful interlocking structure was milled from 2,000sqm of spruce and is visible throughout the building, giving the scheme a very special character and adding high spatial quality to the office environment.

The envelope of the seven-storey building is entirely glazed using WICONA’s façade systems, which reveal its environmental and technical quality and give it a unique appearance from the inside out.  Fabricated by Aepli Metallbau (CH), WICONA’s WICLINE 75 SK system has been used to create a complex triple glazed façade, which achieves a U value as low as 1.0W/m2K. 

A 3m deep double skin façade for the 50m long elevation with views over the River Sihl successfully balances weather performance with the need for natural ventilation. Ventilation was provided for the scheme using a window solution based on the WICLINE 75 SK evo system and in a top hung, open-out configuration to meet the required large spans, deliver efficient ventilation and to prevent the opening sashes from protruding inside the building.

A unique feature of the scheme is a series of ‘retractable windows’ that transform a number of lounge spaces – some of which span two floors – into open air terraces and balconies, reinforcing the link between the building’s interior and its surroundings.

WICONA also supplied WICSOLAIRE sun shading using fixed aluminium louvres and sloped glazing around the perimeter roof level of the building, which complements the rest of the envelope.

Low energy glass was specified to meet the project’s stringent sustainability criteria. Other environmental features of the building include heating and cooling using geothermal groundwater and high levels of thermal insulation.

WICONA has recently expanded its portfolio of window, door and curtain walling products in the UK and Ireland, giving architects and contractors the opportunity to specify highly engineered but standardised solutions to realise the most ambitious building designs. Options in the WICTEC curtain walling suite are a classic ‘stick’ system, roof glazing, structural glazing and a unitised system.

WICLINE evo uses a single system with common components to achieve an almost unlimited range of opening and design configura-tions whilst simplifying specification, fabrication and installation.  This allows specifiers to realise complex yet attractive window designs combined with a high level of functionality and precision. There are options for enhanced security, bullet and burglar resistance, thermal and weather performance, acoustic protection, open-in and open-out systems, and a high quality range of window fittings. 

The system is fully tested to the highest level of security and can be supplied in accordance with the latest European standards RC1 to RC3 for burglar resistance – the first complete window range to achieve this new standard.  Profiles have enhanced thermal performance to achieve U values for the glazed window as low as 0.72W/m2K.  And in order to meet the increasing demand for larger windows for less reliance on artificial lighting, the range is available up to 1700mm by 2500mm in size whilst still maintaining its slim profiles and narrow sight lines.

Project details

Client: Tamedia AG, Zurich
Architect: Shigeru Ban Architects Europe
Contractor: HRS Real Estate AG
Consultants: Itten + Brechbühl AG
Aluminium façade Systems: WICONA
Façade construction: Feroplan, Zurich
Façade development/fabrication:  Aepli Metallbau AG
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