Living with nature
Located in Switzerland, this serene garden is suspended on the edge of a steep hillside. A choreographed array of retaining walls defines a series of terraces that are flexible and adaptable to an evolving program. A natural biopool is the focus of the garden that blends with the hillside flora and creates an ecologically responsive self-regulating wellness oasis. A fully functional outdoor kitchen allows for the space to support large family dinners and celebrations.
A highly choreographed array of retaining walls defines a series of terraces that are adaptable to an evolving program. An energy efficient natural pool cleans itself naturally through the use of wetland plantings and water circulation.
Zurich Biopool, Zurich Switzerland
Date: 2009 Completed
Size: 4,200 sf
Client: Unternehmerliste Pietta
Features: Furniture Design + Craft, Green Infrastructure
Awards: ASLA National Honor Award, ASLA Northern California Chapter
Sticks, falling from a hand
WORKING WITH TOPOGRAPHY
The garden is choreographed by an array of retaining walls that create a sequence of terraced outdoor rooms. These walls were conceived of as ’sticks, falling from a hand‘ and are the dominant features on the site, suggesting a prior geology or archeology. In addition, the retaining walls hold the hillside, securing the residence on the steeply sloped site. Perpendicular to the concrete walls are less permanent gabion walls that function as a modular retention system and may be moved or reused as the garden grows and evolves.
The bio-pool is the focus of the garden experience. An ecologically responsive solution that uses little energy, the bio-pool blends with the natural colors of the hillside flora. Wetland and bog plants, including cattails, iris, rushes, sedges and water lilies, thrive in the mini-wetlands. These plants are a vital part of the natural water cleaning system by filtering the water and allowing it to attain a natural mineral water quality. The client is delighted when, on occasion, water fowl land in her pool for a rest.
Ecologically Responsive / Blends In / Mini-Wetlands / Natural Water Cleaning / Cattails / Iris / Rushes / Sedges / Water Lilies
The garden program also includes a complete kitchen and a dining area, to support intimate dinners and larger events. The kitchen has a refrigerator, an oven, a grilling surface, a barbecue, a dishwasher, and recycling and composting areas. A pergola with retractable shading and infrared heating mitigates the temperature changes outside, thus extending the use of the space.
The project is made from three materials: stone, wood, and concrete. The stone is a flamed quarzite sourced from Ongaro Granniti, located in the alps. It is the same stone used in Peter Zumthor's magnificent ThermeVals. The wood is sustainably harvested mahogany and is untreated. The pool, spa, and stairs are board-formed concrete, using marine grade ply for a smooth and resilient finish.