“The Homestead” – the title of the design by the collaboration Gret Loewensberg Architekten, Clea Gross Architekten and Ghisleni, which the jury awarded first place in the 2013 competition for the conversion and extension of the Bachtel correctional centre in the Zurich Oberland, was simple and significant. Based on this design, the inhomogeneous and partially dilapidated ensemble of buildings of the institution, which has existed since 1881, was fundamentally restructured and expanded. The realisation of the five different new buildings and their uses took place within only two years, while the institution remained in operation. On 23rd of April, Jaqueline Fehr, Director of Justice of the Canton of Zurich, and Martin Neukom, Director of Construction, inaugurated the new facility, which offers space for 94 inmates and 50 staff members.
The Bachtel correctional centre is an institution specialising in the open execution of custodial sentences, most of its inmates being employed in the agricultural service sector. Accordingly, the view of the institution from afar gives the impression of a rural estate, carefully embedded in the landscape and characterised by a façade design inspired by the typology of regional farmhouses.
Lüchinger+Meyer has accompanied the project since the joint competition success in the area of structural design. The majority of the buildings are pile-founded mixed constructions of solid and timber structures. A classical skeleton construction method was used for the realisation of the solid buildings; the interiors are characterised by sophisticated exposed concrete surfaces.
(Photos: Seraina Wirz; Building Department of the Canton of Zurich)