Schiffbau and industrial art in Zürich

Im Viadukt and Frau Gerold’s Garten were battles that had to be fought to prevent the further encroachment of the business area into western Zurich, but the establishment of those cultural regions in West Zurich had a precursor. By the time those regions were established, West Zurich had already developed growing reputation for being the modern cultural centre of the city.

And for that reputation, credit has to be given to this – Schiffbau.

Schiffbau in german meant shipyard. A shipyard in Zurich (deep in the continent) doesn’t make much sense, probabky explains why the shipyard was abandoned eventually.

The abandoned shipyard was given a new lease of life in 2000 when the Zurich Playhouse or Schauspielhaus Zürich (one of the most important and influential theatres in the German-speaking world) set up a three stage theatre in the place.

Schauspielhaus Zürich is an institution, having been created in 1892 and become a vital soapbox for German-speaking playwrights and directors after the rise of the Third Reich (Switzerland was a fiercely neutral country with the ability to successfully defend itself) in 1933. By putting their name to Schiffbau, the influence of the theatre rubbed off on the new industrial theatre concept and it didn’t take long for Schiffbau to explode in popularity.

What Schiffbau did however was more than just create a themed theatre, what it did was to introduce and popularise an art form and architectural style in west Zurich. From Schiffbau, came more and more buildings of the same industrial repositioning theme one of the more well known ones is Puls 5.

Puls 5 used to be a foundry – a factory that produces metal castings, and has now been converted into a multi-use business centre with a fitness gym too.

Industrial art became a theme in west Zurich, there is in fact an exhibtion of industrial art located all around the district. Although I have to say if I was driving by in a car, like a local, I might actually miss the art, seeing as it almost blends in with the environment.

Other industrial areas were also transformed, even Frau Gerolds Garten and Im Viadukt were developed in the same concept in mind.

Frau Gerold’s Garten

Im Viadukt (Hive Club)

It’s a hip district, just like every city has one. But for what its worth, I like that it is really consistent with the theme.



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