The historic ABB halls in Oerlikon prevail as significant architectural testaments to Zurich's industrial past. Their cultural relevance is further accentuated due to their proximity to the commercial and residential areas of Neu-Oerlikon. Following a revision of updated building regulations, these halls are now permanently preserved and, for the most part, designated as protected structures.
The renovation, reinforcement, and technical improvement of these halls are being meticulously carried out in anticipation of the spaces used for public events and large-scale gatherings. The renovation adhered to the objective of retaining the building's industrial charm; in collaboration with conservation authorities, the internal modifications conform to a "continuous building" and an adaptive reuse approach. The elaborate and almost surgical precision used for the concrete work enables it to naturally blend with the building's industrial character.
By designating the nearby MFO Park as the focal point of the neighborhood, the halls need to be condensed and fitted with a temporary façade. A new glass exterior visualizes this “urban cut” and positions the halls as modern structures in relation to the MFO Park. At the same time, it imparts them with a transparency that invites and integrates with the surrounding community. Two prominent lift gates on the façade further characterize the halls as welcoming public spaces.
The interiors are distinguished by a slender metal structure. Reaching a height of 24 meters at its highest section, the expansive volumes lend an almost sacral quality to this space. By removing skylights, a new exterior space is carved out within the building, forming a new enclosed courtyard framed by large gates that integrate with the hall’s circulation network. Vast exhibition areas need upgraded climate control, utilities, and fire safety systems and are supplemented with two dining areas, a bar, a workshop, and conference rooms.