Ann Morrow Johnson
Advanced Design Studio: Porphyrios
The project called for an embassy of an imagined Confederated States of Europe to be located on a lakeside site immediately south of Zurich's center. In an effort to straddle the conflicting priorities of maintaining public access to the park and establishing an appropriate level of security for the embassy grounds, the project proposes a sectional organization. The ground level is public; it allows pedestrians to continue along a waterfront path that hugs the lake-shore all around Zurich. The majority of the park remains public and is supplemented with formal gardens, food, beverage, and retail venues, and street access. Lastly, from the waterfront path the public can access a belvedere, which provides sweeping views of the lake and Alps beyond but which also announces the presence of the embassy as one approaches from downtown Zurich.
The embassy itself is raised several stories up from ground level, which allows the considerable service and security requirements to be tucked "below grade" while the buildings themselves are provided views of the surrounding landscape on multiple levels. The buildings making up the embassy surround a central urban square which opens towards an upper plaza and the embassy's Events Hall. This placement allows the embassy's most public spaces to maximize waterfront views and overlook the public spaces below.