Theo Hotz, the sire who changed the language of Swiss architecture, is an architect based in Zurich, since 1949. Theo Hotz was acclaimed for delivering spectacular glass buildings in particular since the mid-eighties and a lasting impact on the image of the contemporary buildings in Switzerland. The firm was renamed as Theo Hotz Partner AG in 2011 when Peter Berger, Robert Surbeck, and Stefan Adler joined as partners. Known for large industrial and institutional structures, the firm has experience in designing an entire architectural spectrum of works. Lately, Conversions and refurbishment projects have featured more prominently in their portfolio. The firm has received international recognition and awards for several projects.Here are the 15 most iconic works by Theo Hotz:

1.Vienna Central station

Location: Vienna, Austria

Hotz and local architects Ernst Hoffmann and Albert Wimmer have designed the iconic Vienna central station with Hotz responsible for the roof design. The awning is a folded plate structure consisting of 14 diamond-shaped trusses arranged in five rows parallel to the lines of the tracks and each of the platforms. The crystalline form creates rhythmic undulations punctured in the center by a skylight to allow light through glazing between the gaps. The spatial zig-zag with lateral extension and contraction creates an exciting dramaturgy that transforms a simple platform canopy into a spectacular roof exuding a strong sense of movement.

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2. Basel Exhibition Centre, Hall- 1

Location: Basel, Switzerland

In 1999, Theo Hotz designed the award-winning Basel trade fair hall. The transparent glass facade of the building creates spatial transparency to achieve the openness and the visual connection between inside and outside enlivening of public urban life. The hall consists of two exhibition floors and an underground delivery zone with an exhibition area of 36000 sqm. The thoughtful buffer zones are placed along the longitudinal facade to take up the vertical service areas, the media, and bathrooms.

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3. Telecommunications centre

Location: Aargauerstrasse, Zürich, Switzerland

Located in the west of Zurich, the 7-story telecommunications center is one of the well-known projects of Theo Hotz designed in 1978 to accommodate the equipment for arranging national and international long-distance calls with offices, archives and welfare facilities. The floor plan allows flexibility for constant change and development in telecommunications technology. It’s Switzerland’s first building to use a self-supporting sandwich facade that consists of deep-drawn aluminum panels 1.60 meters wide and 4.10 meters high. An insulation layer made of rock wool ensures continuous heat protection. The building is harmoniously structured, retaining its industrial character that uses elements corresponding to the technical processes while maintaining the desired visual quality.

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Telecommunications center The tubular batteries and shafts rising in front of the front are differentiated by yellow color to allow a distinction between supply and exhaust air pipes. Photo Courtesy: ©https://www.instagram.com
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4. Sihlcity

Location: Zurich

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Sihlcity Photo Courtesy: ©https://architizer.com

Sihlcity is a compact ensemble of balance between history and innovation, hefty and light, condensed and breathy, large scale and small scale, an abandoned Sihl paper mill revitalized into an urban center offering shopping and leisure facilities. The four factory buildings were preserved and interwoven carefully with new buildings to form an inner-city district with the focus on the Kalanderplatz, the brick industrial building, and its symbolic 65-meter (213ft) tall brick chimney. The facade features horizontal concrete strips and membranes made of glass and metal defining the stratification theme. The 100,000 sqm of rental space offers a range of facilities and multi-functional cultural and culinary delights. The Sihlcity district stands as a valuable and eventful piece of Zurich history.

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Mystic church, Sihlcity Photo courtesy: ©https://www.instagram.com
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Brick Chimney, Sihlcity Photo Courtesy: ©https://sihlcity.ch
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Shopping mall, Sihlcity Photo Courtesy: ©https://www.instagram.com

5. Schönburg / PTT, Bern

The PTT Headquarters was built in 1970 in Schonburg based on competition won by Theo Hotz that offered 1400 office jobs. The former headquarters of Swiss Post then converted into rental apartments in partnership with Marazzi + Paul Architects in 2009. The project underwent a gentle renovation to partial demolition, expansion to complete dismantling, and new construction to accommodate residential services and retail areas. In the cruciform layout of the building, the east, west, and south wing are used for residential purposes while north wing for the hotel. The skeleton of the building is preserved while the inside is demolished by contributing to sustainable new development. The novel façade cladding gives a youthful character to the form while integrating the beautiful green areas around the cruciform building.

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6. Apartment buildings Winzerhalde

Location: Höngg, Zurich

The Winzerhalde housing is a sustainable project situated on a slope in the Höngg district of Zurich adjoining the bank of river Limmat on the south side. The four existing building blocks were demolished and superseded by 67 apartments that are connected by a continuous underground car park, 63 tenant parking, and 6 visitor parking spaces. Despite its high density, the development offers high-quality outdoor of the same landscape reference for all apartments, each facing a barred view of Limmat river. There is a fluid transition between the natural space and the built space. The entire construction project was carried out and certified according to the Minergie P-ECO standard.

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Apartment buildings Winzerhalde Photo Courtesy©Lisa Obertautsch / Theo Hotz Partner Architects
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Apartment buildings Winzerhalde Photo Courtesy  ©Lisa Obertautsch / Theo Hotz Partner Architects
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Apartment buildings Winzerhalde Photo Courtesy ©Lisa Obertautsch / Theo Hotz Partner Architects

7. Police and Justice center

Location: Zurich, Switzerland

The Police and Justice Center (PJZ), a competence center for combating crime, is an integration of prison, administration, and criminal museum. The compact structure enhanced with green courtyards features various infrastructures such as restaurants, sports halls, and lecture rooms. The architectural expression of the persistent administration building with plinth, strict perforated windows, and natural stone is implemented gracefully into the contemporary and constructive way. Around 1,800 employees from more than 30 locations will be relocated to the PJZ with up to 300 prisoners may be detained here on remand. Hence, the prison cells are made of a purpose-built concrete that has no cracks and space for needles or razor blades. 

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Image 1 & 2: Police and Justice Center Photo Courtesy/ Visualizations  ©Raumgleiter AG, Zurich
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Image 1 & 2: Police and Justice Center Photo Courtesy/ Visualizations ©Raumgleiter AG, Zurich
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Image 1 & 2: Police and Justice Center Photo Courtesy/ Visualizations ©Raumgleiter AG, Zurich

8. Regina Kägi-Hof housing estate

Location: Zurich, Switzerland

Recognized for good building in the canton of Zurich 2001, the objectives for the new housing complex Regina-Kägi-Hof were more modest and less encompassing. It features 126 apartments that provide spacious and affordable housing for families, but also other groups. The two long main buildings of the ReginaKägi-Hof represent modern light glass architecture that frames an interior courtyard with bushes, lawn, and a small open pond. The building design is highly adaptable, ecological, enhancing interaction, and social exchange. The simple, serial layout allows many uses and offers a high living value despite low construction costs.

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9. Office Building Konnex

Location: Baden, Switzerland

Konnex offers modular and prestigious units ranging from 560 to 37,000 m² in the heart of Baden. Theo Hotz was able to make the new era of the site tangible that stands for new beginnings, cosmopolitanism, and strength. Despite its vastness, the building appears light yet confident. An eight-story main wing is delicately connected with four fingers and organized – so it does not appear overwhelming. The glass elements bring transparency to the building envelope, creating a lighter impression and allows light to flow into the building. Konnex delivers expressiveness, contemporary architecture, and a pleasant office atmosphere at the highest level.

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10. Skykey

Location: Zurich

SkyKey is the first skyscraper in Switzerland to receive LEED Platinum status and one of the top 3 skyscrapers in Europe. The building is characterized by a two-layer glass facade and external aluminum vertical slats. The orientation of slats depends on the direction of the sky and position of the sun, ensuring a lively and individual impression. The building includes a spacious dining area with a central light atrium with a capacity of around 720 seats, a library, an auditorium, several meeting rooms, an internal training center, retail spaces, underground parking spaces, and a cafeteria lounge. The ensemble of buildings formulates a balance between the 8-story base standing 63m high, creating a dialog with the neighborhood. 

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11. M-Park

Location: Sursee, Switzerland

M-Park comprises an eminent transparent service zone, shop windows stacked on each other toward the street, and a series of apartments facing the green zones. The end building of the comb structure extends the circulation levels that define the main entrance at the prominent crossroads. The building is divided into three structures that consist of a specialist market with sales areas, a technical and administrative wing, and residential buildings. The parking facilities are connected underground.  The main entrance is marked by an amply glazed access hall that protrudes out of the building. The structure of the technical and administrative wing mediates between the geometries of the new building and the adjacent housing development.

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12. ABB Engineering Building and factory shed “TORO 1+2”

Location: Zurich

ABB Engineering Building is built according to the orthogonal grid of the master plan- a service building for 1,100 employees with a conference center, parking garage, and production building. A reinforced concrete skeleton appears to finesse the volume organized according to the principle of a comb structure. The 5-story glass office building acts as a transition between residences and industry. In TORO-2, the steel structure used only two supports instead of the 16 inner supports to rest on the production hall.

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13. Paninfo

Location: Brüttisellen, Switzerland

Paninfo is a 4-story building located on the freeway in Bruttisellen. The access zone functions as a noise barrier with a cascade staircase. Both the building and staircase are placed parallelly to the topography. 

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14. Federal Materials Testing and Research Institute (EMPA)

Location: Lerchenfeldstrasse 5, St.Gallen

The project was recognized multiple times with European Prize for Industrial Architecture, Swiss Solar Prize, European Solar Prize, and Good building award in 1996. The building signifies by its volume and scale while maintaining the contextual language. The module system was used for both the interiors and exterior metal-glass facade that allowed extensive prefabrication. The art of construction enhances the functionality of the building.

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15. Hard Turm park

Location: Zurich, Switzerland

The Hard turm park development fulfills the aspects of social sustainability with the diversity in apartments, high level of privacy, and shared roof terrace with pool. The volume forms an urban block with a courtyard that benefits the quality of apartments. The quality of living is enhanced by maximizing room heights, spacious bathrooms, and flexible room units that can connect using sliding features. The spatial quality of apartments is enhanced by split-level units and a grandiose view of the Uetliberg.

Theo Hotz mission is to nurture the appreciation of meaningful architecture in the world and champion its potential for a positive impact on everyday life.

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Author

Jinal is an architect whose goal is to create a vibrant time machine through her photography and writing for everyone to revisit some of the aspects of life. She is forever inspired by the nuances of nature and by the underpinning ideas of works of art.

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