JED [an acronym for Join, Explore, Dare] is a new business and event centre on the outskirts of Zurich, Switzerland.
Located in the former «Neue Zürcher Zeitung» newspaper printing plant, the project is a conversion of an industrial site into a business location that retains a post-industrial quality. Offering a variety of spaces for work and leisure, the core idea of the project is to create an environment that offers a platform for creative collaboration, supports networking and promotes entrepreneurship and innovation.
Originally a railway carriage factory, then a large newspaper printing plant, this industrial site in Schlieren, 10 km from Zurich city-centre, has evolved over the decades.
When the printing centre closed in 2015, the client, real estate developer Swiss Prime Site, saw great potential in rehabilitating the premises and establishing an attractive new business location. The 36,000 square meter site now provides a range of spaces including offices, event locations, restaurants, coworking hubs and a coffee roastery, all set within unmistakable post-industrial architecture.
The renovation project involved the repurposing of several former printing halls and warehouses into contemporary and human-focused workspaces that prioritise useability and connectivity, and meet present-day business needs.
The 18-meter-high hall, which previously housed the 5-storey printing machine, has been transformed into an office building by inserting four new floors for workspaces, laboratories, and workshops. At the centre of the space is an open atrium, offset from one storey to the next. By alternating from single to two-storey heights, the atrium creates extraordinary connections across all levels.
The adjacent building, which was formerly used for bundling and distribution, has been repurposed into another bright and spacious office area with further laboratories, conference facilities, and a professionally equipped kitchen.
The second printing hall has been transformed into an event space and is the central element of the project. It not only physically links a number of other public areas – such as the entrance foyer, a coffee bar, a coworking hub, numerous lounge areas and the main restaurant – but also creates a focal point that gives the entire concept a sense of cohesion.
The northern part of the complex is particularly representative of the architects’ respectful combination of the building’s industrial heritage with contemporary architectural features. A new top floor extension with high ceilings and light filled spaces stretches from north to south. The space is bordered to the east and west by former plant rooms that have been opened up to deliver ample light and extended with dormers to the south. The structure of the original trusses has been retained, adding a touch of industrial charm to the spacious room.
Another atrium unites all floors and delivers natural light into the interior of the building. It creates a bright and visually exciting space, that fuses the building’s historical character with contemporary features.
Throughout the entire project, the architectural concept delivers structural diversity and spatial flexibility. Internally, the architects have focused on delivering a sense of spatial flow through the creation of a continuous route, consisting of high and low spaces, open staircases, atriums, ramps, bridges and galleries. In terms of the choice of materials, the contrast between raw concrete, metallic coated steel and wood reference the building’s industrial past.
The JED project showcases how industrial sites can be effectively rehabilitated and repurposed to create socially valuable destinations that revive local activity and economy and create a platform for entrepreneurship. The architectural scheme restores and highlights the special features of the individual halls and adds contemporary value to the original building fabric. Design decisions are geared towards ensuring that all spaces in JED meet the requirement of optimally enabling knowledge transfer, creativity and innovation.
Evolution Design is an award-winning Swiss architecture and design studio with a particular focus on human-centred solutions. Using data-driven research and tailored creative concepts, Evolution Design has been constantly advancing in architecture and interior design, including workplace design, adaptive reuse projects, commercial buildings, and recreation architecture.
The strategic direction of the practice is set by founder and executive director Stefan Camenzind and his partners Tanya Ruegg and Marco Noch. Together, they are the driving force behind the continuous evolution of the practice.
Evolution Design has offices in Zurich and London, bringing together professionals from all over the world and promoting cultural diversity as a source of wealth in design.