Zurich: go West.

Author:Mawson, Emily
Position:Travel: destination switzerland


Once upon a time, ships were built and industry reigned in Zurich's Kreis 5. However, the area tucked between the river Limmat and Hardbrucke train station--now known as Zurich-West--has undergone a transformation in recent decades. Swish high-rises, arty boutiques and glamorous bars have replaced 19th-century industrial workers' digs; and where once the river powered the factories, residents swim in the summer. Join us as we find out how lifestyle takes on a special meaning in this trendy quarter.

A space to work

In 1965, more than half of all people working in the so-called Industriequartier (established in 1875 by the City of Zurich to exploit the area's location close to the river and to the railway tracks) were involved in industry sector; in 2001, barely a sixth of them were. One of the only businesses that remain of this bygone era is the Swiss Mill facing the river Limmat. The shift from blue-collar to white-collar workers is perhaps no more apparent than in the 126-metre Prime Tower (picture 2). Presiding over Zurich-West in an oblong facade of mirrored glass windows, it opened in 2011, cost CHF 380 million to build, and houses tenants primarily from the upmarket services sector. Northwest from here is Technopark, where young entrepreneurs' start-ups are fostered in shared office space. Further on, towards the river, innovative build ComWest combines living and office spaces. It is a symbol of what Zurich-West stands for.

A space to experience

Most people who live in Zurich-West are between the ages of 20 and 64--and they are catered to in venues around the area. When the industrial buildings fell into disrepair in the 1980s, creative businesses moved in, and bars and restaurants opened. One of the most elegant examples of this development is Schiffbau (pictures 1, 5 and 6): the arch-windowed brick hall where ships used to be built today is home to the Schauspielhaus Zurich theatre, jazz club Moods, Nietturm bar, La Salle gourmet restaurant and 19 apartments. Around the corner old meets new in Puls 5 (picture 8). Built around the shell of a 19th-century foundry, it calls itself the 'beating heart of Zurich-West' and contains offices, a gym, an exhibition hall, restaurants, and a school. Also in the area are a cinema, art gallery Galerie Eva Presenhuber and the Lowenbrau Areal, which is home to the Migros Museum and Kunsthalle Zurich. And when you want to gaze back over it all, climb to the top of the Prime...

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