Architectural history of the Mythenquai, part 3

The Mythenschloss was built in 1925-1927 by architect Arminio Cristofari (1883-1957). It belonged to a special type of upper middle-class, representative residential buildings at privileged locations, such as the "Rotes Schloss" (Beethovenstrasse 1ff.), the "Weisses Schloss" (General-Guisan-Quai 30ff.) and the "Neues Schloss" (Stockerstrasse 9ff.). The six-storey residential palace was built with a U-shaped layout. The Mythenschloss was a characteristic feature of the newly developed Zurich lakefront.

In 1962, the Mythenschloss became the property of Swiss Re. Following an assessment of the building substance and options for use in 1981 it became clear that only a new building would be able to satisfy future requirements. This decision gave rise to various difficulties. Apart from complex issues concerning building regulations, the subsoil also yielded various surprises. The subsoil was found to contain the remains of prehistoric settlements which were of archaeological interest and necessitated archaeological rescue excavations. Moreover, the former bed of the lake was unstable, which was an additional challenge for the engineers. The Mythenschloss was classified as a valuable historic monument representing neo-classical architecture. Accordingly, the decision was made to reconstruct the façade facing the lake.

A new building with a reconstructed façade

The Mythenschloss was demolished and rebuilt in 1982. The result was a building rich in contrast, with a neo-classical façade facing the lakeside promenade and a contemporary metal façade at the rear. The uses of the building were in line with its outer appearance. In the old Mythenschloss, residential apartments had soon been converted into offices, and the new building had to provide the same number of apartments as had remained in the old building. These were placed in the reconstructed side wings and as duplex apartments in the two top floors. Workplaces were accommodated in the modern part of the building. The outer appearance was also reflected in the interior design. The marble entrance hall was a continuation of the classical façade.

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