A tyre-fitting workshop which is also an art gallery
Tyre Shop / Art Exchange
Floor Area: 250 m2
Building Volume: 2000 m3
Completion: March 2003
- Strategic Project Management
- Quantity Survey
- Construction Management
- Research & Brief Development
- Full Architectural Services
The tyre fitting shop / art exchange is situated on a brownfield site adjacent to the lake of Zurich, between the railway station of Zurich-Wollishofen, a bus stop and the main access road into the centre of Zurich. The client was looking for a highly efficient tyre-fitting workshop with a strong visual identity.
The location of the site and its use as a tyre fitting workshop is typical of many cities that are encircled by a semi-industrial periphery serving the workforce commuting between their urban place of work and the surrounding suburban residential green belt. The semi-industrial fringe acts as a filter between an increasingly disassociated world of work and leisure that has developed into a finely tuned mirror of today's socio-economic changes. In this stark environment we find petrol stations, 24-hour shops, night clubs, factory outlets and start-up companies of every kind which are served by a never ending stream of people moving in and out of town. Movement is the key, which drives this ever changing environment. We therefore conceived the entire facade of the first floor of this tyre-fitting building as a 4-sided, 200 m2 interactive communication surface. Sponsored by tyre manufacturers, young artists are given the opportunity to challenge the borders of art by taking their work out of the gallery and placing it into a commercial, fast moving environment. Challenging the conventional frontiers of art and commerce, the building becomes a marker of the cultural identity of today. The building acts as a drive-by gallery for passing vehicles and trains and engages even more powerfully with pedestrians waiting for buses or trains. This is the first building of a series of cultural markers we intend to place around the city of Zurich, acting as the new cultural gateway to the city. In the future, urban areas would be recognised by their cultural markers, rather than their historical heritage alone.
The building footprint was established by optimising the very tight site constraints and the functional requirements of vehicle turning circles and working equipment. The building is split into two levels, with the workshop on the ground floor and tyre storage on the first floor.
Speed of construction and an early opening was essential to the client's business plan. Therefore the building was constructed as a steel frame with concrete floors and insulated metal tray panels, covered with a layer of glass as rain screen cladding. On the first floor, the metal panels were set back from the glass facade to create a 50cm wide access space, in which to install artwork. The architects were also responsible for the quantity surveying, as well as site management. This guaranteed a highly successful and fast transition from the first concept to the final construction in just 5 months. The building was awarded with the Building of Excellence Award, by the city of Zurich, and was highly commended at the International ar+d Award.