Gionata Buzzi
Bioclimatic redevelopment at Thurgauerstrasse

Thurgauerstrasse is deeply related to water: names such as Seebach, Leutschenbach and Glattpark reveal this link. There, streams and rivers connect the green and public spaces: the oasis of the Katzenbach, the Leutschenpark, Glattpark and Andreaspark. Once they determined the urban form of the neighbourhood, as streets followed the flow of the water. Couldn’t water play a role again in influencing the urban development of an area that is undergoing a massive change? Couldn’t it serve as a link between the built environment and the existing green infrastructure? And couldn’t it serve as a thermoregulator to mitigate the heat island effect that affects the area, which is characterized by impermeable surfaces?

The asphalt of the offices at Thurgauerstrasse is removed, and the in-between spaces are filled with earth, creating hills for planting trees. The buildings become machines for collecting rain water, which is stored in the underground garages, used as infrastructure. The collected water is employed in order to water the trees during prolonged heat periods, so that they can cool the air by transpiration, or used to feed ponds that serve as evaporative surfaces, lowering the temperature. The different bioclimatical interventions, such as a constructed wetland, a rain garden and an aqueduct all employ water that is either cleaned, let percolate, or just flow, since moving water has a greater cooling effect than still water.

At the scale of the neighbourhood, the offices at Thurgauerstrasse are turned into a park aimed at requalifying both spatially and climatically the outside spaces. At a smaller scale, the park is brought to the interior with a green house with tropical plants, an orangerie with mediterranean citrus plants and an hydroponic farm. It becomes a productive landscape, working in different seasons. At the territorial scale, the park works as an interface between the new developments by becoming the connecting piece, while being integrated and interconnected with the existing green spaces, creating a network.