District gets an upgrade with new student housing

On 1 September, the Rosengarten student residence located on Bucheggstrasse in Zurich will open its doors. The 18 shared housing units offer an affordable place to live tailored to the needs of its 130 student residents. At the same time, the district of Wipkingen will benefit from facilities and services for childcare, commercial space and a public park. SSWZ (Foundation for Student Housing Zurich), which was in charge of the project, opened the new building to the public for the first time today.

Affordable housing in Swiss cities - particularly in Zurich - is scarce. But currently more than 70,000 students are enrolled at Zurich’s universities, and they are in dire need of affordable housing. SSWZ, which was founded more than 30 years ago by ETH Zurich, Zurich University, the City of Zurich and Zurich’s student housing cooperative (WOKO) have made it a mission to address this situation.

With the completion of its latest project, another milestone has been reached in the development of student housing. After three years of construction, the new Rosengarten student housing complex on Bucheggstrasse is now complete. The maisonette apartments for students are the focal point of the project, which was realised under the direction of Atelier Scheidegger Keller. "The top priority was to have as many rooms as possible while at the same time ensuring high quality living," explains Christian Scheidegger, ETH alumnus and chief architect of the project. For SSWZ, the focus during the project was to offer each student a peaceful place for studying and somewhere that cultivates a sense of community and social interaction.

Space for peaceful studying and social interaction

The new residential building with 18 shared housing units to house three to ten people, with a total of 130 students, will open its doors in September. Each unit centres around a spacious communal area with an open kitchen, around which the bedrooms and bathrooms are located. The floor of each communal area, which was designed by artist and ETH alumnus Nicolas Feldmeyer, features an image of a historic rose garden.

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The communal areas open to the two-storey loggias facing the park. Each loggia connects two housing units to create inviting opportunities for all residents to relax, socialise and eat around the shared barbecues. All the private rooms have windows facing the park for good ventilation. The solid construction and state-of-the-art sound proofing keep the living spaces quiet. Several rooms for guests, hobbies and music complete the amenities of the student housing facility. On average, the monthly rent for a room is CHF 580 (including additional costs).

Loggias connect two apartments. (Photograph: Karin Gauch, Fabien Schwartz) The floors of the kitchen-living rooms are decorated with floor plans of rose gardens. (Photograph: Karin Gauch, Fabien Schwartz) All private rooms can be opened up to the park. (Photograph: Karin Gauch, Fabien Schwartz) The private and bathrooms are arranged around the living halls. (Photograph: Karin Gauch, Fabien Schwartz) One of the rosen gardens of artist and ETH alumnus Nicolas Feldmeyer (Photograph: Karin Gauch, Fabien Schwartz) A private room with pitch of the roof (Photograph: Karin Gauch, Fabien Schwartz)

Those parts of the building that are not suitable for living spaces due to noise will be rented to small businesses and freelancers; for example, there are plans for a speech therapy practice. Various commercial uses are possible - the infrastructure required for restaurants is available as well. A kindergarten, creche and daycare centre with capacity for 83 children will eventually open in the spaces facing the park and on the ground floor of the building.

City of Zurich, ETH, and the canton of Zurich contributed to the financing

The space-saving use concept of the residential building enabled the creation of a public park behind the student housing complex. About a third of the plot (approx. 2,000 m2) is a public neighbourhood park, which will be planted with ample greenery. The park is being developed with the sponsorship of Grün Stadt Zürich and will be finished in spring 2021. Nesting sites for potentially endangered hawk swallows are attached to the building to promote biodiversity as well.

The total cost of the superstructure was CHF 28 million. ETH and the city of Zurich each contributed CHF 4 million. The city also covered the costs of clearing the site before construction. The canton contributed CHF 3 million. The rest was financed by SSWZ.

Demand for student housing remains high

The Rosengarten student housing complex is the latest chapter in a long success story: SSWZ offers students in Zurich a total of more than 1,500 rooms at 15 sites. Ulrich Weidmann, President of the SSWZ Foundation Board and Vice President for Infrastructure at ETH Zurich, emphasises: "SSWZ’s commitment to providing affordable, high-quality student housing is an investment in the future of Zurich as a university hub." After all, students need a proper living and learning environment in order to successfully complete the highly demanding courses at ETH or the University of Zurich. The foundation president also points out: "The demand for affordable housing still far exceeds supply." This means that universities must cooperate with policy makers to develop pragmatic solutions - such as the Rosengarten student housing complex.

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