Swiss Life Arena
Zurich, Switzerland 2012–2022
Client: ZSC Lions Competition, first prize
The commission for the Swiss Life Arena was won in a competition organised by the City of Zurich in partnership with the ZSC Lions ice hockey club. The building contains a 12,000-seat arena that will be the home for the team, as well as a practice rink, a business centre, a large club restaurant and car parking. The site in Altstetten is located at the edge of the city, in a place where the urban structure has run out. The new arena marks the approach to the city with a public building that makes a festive place for ice hockey.
The arena is organised on one level, avoiding the superimposition of long-span structures, and resulting in the most efficient building volume. Buttresses on the arena’s long sides support steel trusses that span east-west over the main ice hockey and practice rinks. At ground level, the depth of the buttresses forms arcades that run the length of the arena’s long east and west façades. All entrances – for fans, VIPs and vehicles – are accommodated within these generous circulation spaces. At the south end of the arena, where most fans will arrive, the arcades open into monumental stairs that lead directly to a large south-facing public terrace. During match days, this terrace provides a generous outdoor space that is not available at ground level. Outside match days, the terrace could be used for celebrations and trade events, thus intensifying and diversifying the use of the arena. The equivalent space at the north of the site is a densely landscaped courtyard that provides an exterior amenity space for the VIP and press facilities.
The primary structure of buttresses and trusses is covered by a cladding of in-situ-cast concrete elements; it refers to monumental classicism, as well as having light textile qualities. On the east and west façades, the cladding elements form undulations that press into the space between the buttresses, resembling a large hanging drapery. The light tone of the cladding will be activated by natural light, which will play on the drapery and on the fluting of its modelled surface. The cladding stops in a gently scalloped profile at the top of the arcade, the interior of which is clad in purple mosaic tiles. The emblematic figure of the building, with qualities between a monument and a tent, clearly marks out a place for public gathering that can act as a gateway to the city.
The Swiss Life Arena is featured in Casabella 944. Federico Tranfa introduces the project and discusses its key references – the ruins of an ancient mosque in Syria and the 18th century Guards Tent in the gardens of the summer palace at Drottingholm in Stockholm.
The Swiss Life Arena is reviewed in the March edition of Werk, Bauen Wohnen. Benjamin Muschg takes in the atmosphere at a sold-out game, as the ZSC Lions triumph over HC Davos, and describes the building's unconventional organisation and approach to minimizing energy consumption in use.
17th December 2022
Maik Novotny visits Caruso St John's Zurich office to discuss the new arena for the ZSC Lions ice-hockey team and, despite the scale of its most recently completed project, discovers the practice's long-term interest and growing commitment to projects that prioritise renovation and adaptive re-use over new construction.
18th October 2022
The Zurich Lions Ice Hockey team will play their inaugural match tonight at the newly opened Swiss Life Arena. Located in Altstetten, at the north-western edge of the city, the 12,000 seat, 70,000m² arena is Caruso St John's largest building to date.
A publication charting the 14 year process of designing and building the Swiss Life Arena has been published by Park Books.
The book is by CCTM Real Estate & Infrastructure AG, with contributions by Ariana Pradal, Marco Keller, and Claudia Kaufmann-Morf, as well as photographs by and Philip Heckhausen.
8th May 2023
Adam Caruso will be in conversation with Casabella’s editor Federico Tranfa at the Theatro Milano for the magazine’s annual lecture series. The discussion will focus on the design process, exploring projects like the recently completed Swiss Life Arena.
Michael Schneider spoke to Jonathan Jaeggi of Hochparterre's Sach & Krach podcast, about the recently completed Swiss Life Arena. The two discuss the building's strong façade, its complex planning and construction alongside the importance of injecting humour into architecture.
19th December 2021 - 18th April 2022
David K. Ross' Mock Up exhibition, featuring Caruso St John's Swiss Life Arena, has moved to the Yellow House in Flims. The exhibition shown previously at S AM presents his Archetypes photographic series, which examines the role of mock ups in the design process.
28th August - 31st October
David K. Ross' photographic series, Archetypes will be exhibited at the Swiss Architecture Museum in Basel from the 28th August to the 31st October. Façade mock-ups for Caruso St John's Swiss Life Arena feature as part of exhibition.
Enormous steel roof trusses are being craned into position at the Swiss Life Arena in Zurich. The roof structure will be in place within the month and the building will top-out before the end of Summer. Construction is set to complete in Spring and the building will open to the public in Summer 2022.
Façade mock-ups for Caruso St John's Swiss Life Arena have been photographed as part of Canadian artist David K. Ross' new publication Archetypes.
Hosted by BALTS Projects, Caruso St John's Tibor Bielicky will be in conversation with Ross about the project, on Wednesday 23rd June 2021, 18:30 (MSEZ).
Construction continues on the Swiss Life Arena, the new home for the ZSC Lions ice hockey team, and Caruso St John's largest project to date. The in situ concrete exposed shell of the building is currently being built and the project is set to complete in 2022.
Altstetten, Zurich, Switzerland
ZSC Lions Arena Immobilien AG
Caruso St John Architects
Adam Caruso, Peter St John, Michael Schneider, Florian Zierer
Natalija Bajovic, Christof Bedall, Leo Bettini, Tibor Bielicky, Pauline Delorme, Paul Eckert, Rafael Fernandes Trindade, Pierre Chèvremont, Svenja Gubler, Philipp Knorr, Leslie Rahel Majer, Annina Meier, Argel Padilla, Alina Pinardi, Jan Pisani, Kim Pløhn, Moritz Pürckhauer, Ignasi Sarria, Joel Schärer, Jonas Schöpfer, David Vincent, Hannah v. Knobelsdorff, Nora Walter, Carmino Weber, Marie Wichard, Anastasia Zharova
Ferrari Gartmann AG
Kalt & Halbeisen Ingenieurbüro AG, Amstein & Waltert
Client project manager
CCTM consulting AG
Neuschwander & Morf AG
BAKUS Bauphysik & Akustik GmbH
Antòn Landschaft GmbH
HRS Real Estate AG
Marti AG, Barizzi AG