Figuring out a way for people and lizards to coexist peacefully was one of the many challenges faced by Schweingruber Zulauf while designing The Lettenviadukt, a quiet piece of abandoned history. The Municipality of Zürich held a competition in 2004 and Schweingruber Zulauf (in partnership with Zürich architectural firm EM2N) won the work and hoped to restore the promenade to its former charm.
Using concrete lamps and old-fashioned steel banisters to recall the railway of old, Lukas Schweingruber says, “When we’re up here on the promenade, we feel like a train.” They scaled the size of the concrete lamps down in order to make room for the lounging lizards and placed concrete benches periodically for lounging people, as well. For the promenade, they included large, modern graphic slabs with smaller gravel in between for the lizards to use. In this way, the lizards are protected—free to sun on the stones or hide in the gravel in the shade of the viaduct. Below the walkway, the tall fir trees cast shadows that mirror the long, straight lines of the stones above.
The firm focused on three basic materials to reflect the look and feel of the railroad—concrete, stainless steel, and gravel. The effect is enchanting—nostalgic charm tempered by a museum-like elegance and the beauty of green space.
Achieving this result and completing the project required several tools. For the landscape architects and designers at Schweingruber Zulauf, those tools include working with foam 3D models and then moving the information into Vectorworks software to refine it in 2D as they further develop the physical models and other design sketches. When the plans are ready for presentation, they often move them into other programs since their employees come from different backgrounds and are familiar with different software. The core files, however, remain Vectorworks files. Using Vectorworks software allows the firm to collaborate well with other file formats and software programs.
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