We're drawn to nature but, paradoxically, end up causing harm to it. Take the Masoala Hall at the former Zurich
Zoo, for example. We built this massive structure to recreate nature artificially, trying to save what we've
unintentionally put at risk. Initially, it came at a considerable environmental cost, but serving as a response to the
shrinking rainforests. Originally conceived as a preservationist measure, the hall now symbolizes our complex
relationship with the environment. It played a crucial role in boosting the zoo's reputation as a leading institution
in Europe. After a period of vacancy, the hall faced the possibility of demolition. What could be done, in order to
save the building and simultaneously maximizing its potential for future uses? Read more

In addressing the fate of the vacant hall, our decision hinged on its location within a designated preservation zone,
rendering it impervious to conventional demolition or residential conversion. Per the zone's regulations, structures
must serve as recreational spaces for citizens and contribute to the preservation of nature. In light of these
constraints, our vision for the hall takes on a transformative purpose: a pulmonary rehabilitation clinic. The pressing
need for such clinics in Switzerland, coupled with the escalating instances of chronic pulmonary diseases and the
aging demographic requiring rehabilitation, underscored the urgency of repurposing the space. Beyond its
architectural footprint, the hall operates as a mini ecosystem, maintaining a tropical climate to safeguard the rare
Malagasy flora within. Recognizing the potential therapeutic benefits of this climate for individuals with chronic lung
conditions, a medical expert recommended the establishment of a clinic within the hall. The clinical facilities are
housed in the head building, adhering to sanitary standards, while patient accommodations are situated within the
main hall to capitalize on the tropical climate's therapeutic properties. Preserving the existing flora and ensuring
public access to the former zoo path were integral considerations. To achieve this, patient residences were
suspended from the ceiling and linked by ramps, anchored at two points. This approach not only safeguards the
trees but also allows patients to benefit from the increased warmth and humidity. The elevated dwellings offer
patients elevated privacy, immersing them in a green sanctuary that complements the overarching concept of
holistic well-being.In essence, the repurposing of the hall into a pulmonary rehabilitation clinic addresses the
potential of the existing space, harmonizing with the principles of preservation and maximizing the building’s
contribution to a vision of a sustainable environment. Read less

Eric Schwarzenbach, Yann Schwaller, Gina Bollinger
Arno Brandlhuber, Bing Liu, Giacomo Ardesio, Jolene Lee, Meghan Rolvien, Severin Bärenbold, Olaf Grawert, Pan Hu
Andreas Hohl, Martin Naville, Thomas Scherer