Balgrist Church
location: Zürich, Switzerland
client: Schweizerische Reformierte Kirche Balgrist
status: Project
project: 2018

Created by the Pfister brothers for a 1950 design competition and inaugurated in 1952, the Balgrist Church in Zurich's Hirslanden district, occupies a prominent and elevated position close to several hospital buildings. The church serves as a sanctuary of silence and peace, and furthermore serves as a meeting place for church services, lunches, concerts, film nights, and a café which complements an idyllic garden in the summer months.

Designed for a competition, the spatial extension connects as a 5-metre-wide space to the existing gallery. This new addition appears as a large piece of wooden furniture that rests, as a room cushion, against the original stone structure. The design further introduces a layer of cupboards in a kitchenette and precisely positioned stairs, frames, and an enclosed meeting box for private discussions. Upon entering this intimate, box-like space, visitors are welcomed by an ambiance of an archaic dwelling. A generously sized skylight carved into the gable spatially references the exterior.

The ground floor of this new space can be conveniently integrated into the larger hall with the help of a mobile and foldable partition. On the floor above, meeting and seminar areas acts as a filter between the open office and individual desks. Acoustic curtains, adjustable as needed, provide controlled visibility. These curtains are adorned with abstract sun motifs, reminiscent of the building's original plasterwork.

commission: Competition
program: Culture
team: Annette Spillmann, Harald Echsle, Rico Furter, Saskja Odermatt, Marion Spillmann, Katrin Zumbrunnen