Danish Schmidt Hammer Lassen Architects won an international architecture competition to design the world’s tallest residential timber building in Switzerland. Their winning proposal focused on creating an active neighborhood connected with the area’s history.

Continue reading below
Our Featured Videos
Left to right: A residential tall building with a blue sky. On the right is the side of the skyscraper with an evening sky

Rocket and Tigerli will have a load-bearing structure made from wood. It will feature plenty of natural daylight, and rising 100 meters above the skyline of the Swiss city of Winterthur, near Zurich.

Related: One of the largest CLT construction in the US is in Oregon

“We approach this project with a great sense of humbleness. It is a big project that will have a significant influence on the community, socially as well as aesthetically,” said Kristian Ahlmark, partner and design director at Schmidt Hammer Lassen. 

Orange buildings with a pathway with a tree in the middle of it

The city of Winterthur was historically known for its machine industry and locomotive production. Today, the city is a center for higher education and culture. However, contained within the city in the Lokstadt area, they celebrate the area’s 19th century industrial history. The architecture displays a high degree of detail often found in industrial architecture from that period. To match this, but create a modern residential tower, SHL used this historical style as a guiding principle for the new tower.

Rocket and Tigerli is named after locomotives produced at the site. It will consist of four buildings built close together and combine housing for the general public and student housing. Additionally, a restaurant, retail spaces, a sky bar and a hotel. Between the buildings is a green plaza intended for use by all the people coming and going from the mixed-use facility.

The bottom levels of the buildings with people walking through the pathway

Furthermore, the building redesigned from an original single block structure, which is what won the competition. Detached buildings with private entrances and individual facades create a less monolithic space. It allows a stronger sense of connection between residents and their own space, as well as allowing for more daylight within the buildings. Moreover, the tower is intended to seem like a continuation of the surrounding historical architecture. There will be dark red and yellow terracotta bricks combined with architectural details in dusty green.

Interior of an apartment building with walls of windows to show the views outside

All apartments within the tower have plenty of natural daylight. There will be double-height ceilings and angled windows to make most of the inflow of daylight. They are also designed with a high level of flexibility to allow different uses of the spaces.

Rocket and Tigerli sets a record not only for height for a timber-built building, but also because it introduces a newer construction system that examines wood as a replacement for concrete. The Swiss company Implenia and the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology of Zürich, ETH worked together in developing the new system. As a result, it allows for construction of taller timber buildings.

The top of the skyscraper

The concrete core of the building is replaced with wood, which has a lighter weight for beams. This makes it possible to build taller buildings while allowing the entire building process to achieve a lower amount of embedded carbon. The building is expected to open to residents by 2026.

+ Schmidt Hammer Lassen Architects

Images via Schmidt Hammer Lassen Architects