The sports ground Heerenschürli in the northern outskirts of Zurich has existed since the early 1970s. Its modernisation and redesign, initiated by the city of Zurich in 2004 and 2005, was meant to meet the concerns of the changing surroundings and to better integrate the complex as a neighbourhood park.
Our concern was to point out the ambivalent status of the area: between periphery and agglomeration; between housing and industrial zone; between density and terrains vagues, between traffic and grasslands. We intended to stress the artificiality of the location and blur the boundaries between the natural and the artificial environment in this urban space and park.
The terrain has been renewed and optimised for thirteen sports fields, including a baseball pitch. The complex also encompasses a skate facility, cycle tracks, and paved walkways to connect the adjacent residential areas to the streets, tram station and grasslands. The intersecting roads provide a strong analogy to an urban layout: running from north to south and east to west in between the rectangular fields they structure the complex in the form of a city’s grid. High ball catching fences enclosing the fields add to this impression as they form volumes alluding to city blocks.
Whereas this axial grid stresses the space’s urban quality, its colouring in shades of green – including the surfaces of the architectural facilities implemented by Dürig architects – establishes the connection to its natural environment. Yet, the space’s evergreen character with its synthetic turf is a playful reminder of the thin line between what is natural and artificial, what is grown and man-made.