Architectural history of the Mythenquai, part 2

The Altbau

Swiss Re's head office at Mythenquai 60 was built in 1911-1913 by architects Alexander von Senger (1889-1968) and Emil Faesch (1865-1915). The supporting structure of the building consists of reinforced concrete, which was modern in those days. On the outside, the building presents itself as a neo-baroque monumental structure, with French lime sand brick used for the façade. Although the exterior impression might suggest otherwise, there were open-plan offices on several floors from the outset. There were also individual offices, and the ones for senior management were on the second floor.

After the railway track along the left side of the lake was rerouted through a tunnel and the Alfred-Escher-Strasse was built, the building was extended from 1929 to 1931 in the same style as the existing structure by architects Otto (1880-1959) and Werner Pfister (1884-1950).

Various adjustments were made to the building over the years, as many features were getting old and no longer met modern standards. Architects Tilla Theus & Partner, Zurich, won the architectural competition for the renovation of the building in 1998-2000. The originally open inner courtyard of the listed building was carefully restored and covered with a matt glass roof. The supports and girders of the building structure were uncovered on the inside of the building and open plan offices were installed on the upper floors. These measures gave the building a contemporary functionality, providing ample space and light.


MICHEL, Regula (2009): Mythenquai 60, in: Hochbaudepartement der Stadt Zürich, Amt für Städtebau: Baukultur in Zürich. Enge Wollishofen Leimbach, p. 68, Zurich

ZBINDEN, Ueli (1998): Umbau Hauptsitz Schweizer Rück – Studienauftrag Herbst 1996, in: Werk, Bauen + Wohnen, 1998 no.85, pp. 18-20

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