Wabi-Cha – A highrise teahouse in the park

“The winning entry ‘Wabi-cha‘ convinced the jury with its clear structure with a very flexible internal floor plan organization. With its expression as a ‘vertical hut in the park’, the submission pleasantly mediates between the new business use and the existing residential buildings and sets the desired positive sign for the city of Schlieren at the prominent location.” Team WALDRAP, supported by structural engineers Lüchinger+Meyer, wins the competition for the VerticalLab at Rietpark. The new 45m high office and laboratory building is the final building block in the transformation of the Geistlich-area in Schlieren. Located in the middle of the park, it will provide space for startups and established healthtech companies as a “sign of progress and innovation.”
Wabi-cha refers to a style of Japanese tea ceremony and emphasizes simplicity. Both points of view are reflected in the design and structure of the high-rise building. “Overall, the project convinces with its relation to the park, its charismatic, almost poetic architectural expression, and its simple, flexible structure.” the jury praised the entry. In order to prevent the separation of the users of the high-rise building from their neighbours and their surroundings, the parts of the building are designed in such a way that they offer a lot of open space for the public. The building as a whole should invite exchange and communication with its surroundings. Thus, the two-story entrance area is formulated as a spanning roof with a pavilion-like hood that evokes associations with teahouses. The passable balconies in the central section of the high-rise promote communication among those working in the offices and laboratories.

The structural design followed the objective of easily accommodating a variety of different uses and combinations of uses. It is built up from a reinforced concrete skeleton. The slab panels are broken up into individual beams, which together form a rigid grid that rests on the central core walls and prefabricated columns. The infills between the girders, which are executed as wood or concrete elements, complete the ceiling system. They can be installed or removed to suit specific uses – even retrospectively – and ensure an optimal level of flexibility. The ceiling system reduces the use of materials to a minimum without compromising on the span lengths . “The material-saving design also has an economic impact – in terms of costs, the entry stands out positively,” commented the jury. At the same time, it is possible to respond specifically to special requirements, such as vibration specifications and the like. The concrete columns on the ground floor run vertically through both floors, the intermediate ceiling is inserted as a linear load-bearing wooden ceiling. The walkable Brise Soleil consists of a steel structure.

Visualisations: WALDRAP