So here it was, Zurich’s reputation for finance and business had grown and grown and now more land was needed to expand the financial and services sector in the city. The people in these sectors however had high expectations, they were going to work near the established city – the old town, the paradeplatz no where else, but obviously no one wanted new modern buildings to mar the view of a beautiful city. So the new mecca of modernity had to be built just outside of the city and they had found the perfect location.
West Zurich, the erstwhile Insutrial sector of the city was seeing its size of the economy decrease and therefore many factories begin to move out of Zurich for other places, here was the spot to build a metropolis. The first mega structure came up in 2011 despite much public disaffection, it was called the Prime Tower and is still the tallest building in Zurich at 126 meters with 36 floors. It was built on top of what was a former factory.
Other industrial areas around Prime Tower were also slated for redevelopment, some within a year, others within five years or a decade. The industrial container park just opposite Prime Tower, Frau Gerolds on Geroldstrasse, was one of them. It was primed for coonstruction in 2015. No one combated the idea, but many thought, since there was going to be three years anyway, why not use the existing time more productively.
So rather than let the land sit idly by, a group of people decided to open a beer and kitchen garden during the Summer and Winter. These people decided to use the containers that were lying around as the house for their stores. People got creative, plots of land were put up for entrepreneurs of all financial levels to take part, some entrepreneurs set up street stalls,
while some of the restaurant and bar owners who rented whole contianers becided to go wild and created al fresco dining areas on the top of their containers.
People were drawn from all over Zurich and beyond to spend time watching the day go by.
It drew the young and middle class, people who wanted to spend a bit for an experience, an experience of being in a grungy industrial town with the gentility of a gentrified neighbourhood. It drew lifestyle concepts such as Freitag, a bag and accessories stall that makes products only from recycled goods.
Freitag stall – the containers are just the externals. It is a full shop with stairs that go up 7 floors inside
They are so popular with young and college students that regular deals off Freitag bags draw many college aged students to their doors. For the record, a the cheapest Freitag backpack is 155 Euros.
It drew the establishment of some of the hottest nightclubs in town including Supermarket and Hive.
The entrance to Hive is also the home of one of the most instagrammable locations in Zurich.
The pragmatic government and business people soon saw the light, and redevelopment of the plot of land was not brought up again. The temporary container and beer gardens had become a permanent fixture of the city.
ON THE MAP