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Open Space Concept "Prospect of Spatial Development in Limmat Valley" ideas competition, Zurich, Switzerland, 2013

Conducting a planning investigation of the approx. 25-kilometer long Limmat Valley, and the study went well beyond specialist and political confines, represented a particular interdisciplinary challenge. The intensive exchange of information with the key stakeholders and experts also provided a chance to sound out opportunities that go beyond the particular interests of communities and private individuals and relate to questions pertaining to the integrated development of settlements, open space, and infrastructure in a central part of the Limmat Valley. This large-scale examination provided an opportunity to explore previously unrecognized synergies, and as such, for example, economically significant objects. To illustrate the location-related advantages of the various elements in the area earmarked for development, to trigger their gradual transformation processes, as well as to secure and promote the remaining open spaces, we chose a HELIX, to a certain extent as a symbol of future planning in the entire valley. In future this will symbolize not the random juxtaposition of activities, but rather integrated, synergetic interaction. The memorable symbol is certainly in analogy to the DNA helix, to a certain extent to a “rope ladder for life “. The “urbane helix” in Limmat Valley, however, has considerably more components and connecting strands, which underscores the complexity of the valley’s organism. The helix’ spatial framework is formed by the countryside and the Limmat, complemented by the classical infrastructures, which, as connecting strands, complete the support system for the program components in the form of countryside and settlement. The helix’ components represent the future continually advancing program for the possible development of Limmat Valley, and in addition act as cross-links between the strands. A well developed new local mobility route also links the components.

over all plan


ETH Zürich, IRL - Institut für Raum- und Landschaftsentwicklung

Planning area:

9,000 ha


Mixed-Use | Open Space