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Zurich’s MFO Park

Story & photos by Paul Clemence

As Switzerland begins to open up from quarantine, locals in Zürich have a cool urban option to both enjoy the Spring weather and yet keep up the still ongoing preventive social distancing guidelines. Located in the Oerlikon district at the Zurich-Nord part of town and just west of the train station, the MFO Park is a unique “park hall”: a hangar-sized steel trellis covered with plants and inviting lounging vignettes. Designed by the Basel architecture firm Burckhardt + Partners at the site of the former Maschinenfabrik Oerlikon (MFO), the contemporary structure features cantilevered balconies, a minimalist water basin, roof sun deck and plenty of seating carefully arranged so as not to cramp visitors on top of each other ( as if anticipating the current zeitgeist). The landscape (by Zürich firm Raderschall Partners) perfectly embraces the structure, softening the industrial aesthetic and adding a seasonal element. Opened in 2002, the project has won several awards since then.









Paul Clemence is an award-winning photographer and writer exploring the cross-section of design, art and architecture. A published author, his volume Mies van der Rohe’s FARNSWORTH HOUSE remains to this day the most complete photo documentation of that iconic modern residential design, and a selection of these photos is part of the Mies van der Rohe Archives housed by MoMa, New York. He is widely published in arts, architecture and lifestyle magazines like Metropolis, ArchDaily, Architizer, Modern, Casa Vogue Brasil and others. Archi-Photo, aka Architecture Photography, his Facebook photo blog quickly became a photography and architecture community, with over 970,000 followers worldwide. An architect by training, Clemence is originally from Rio de Janeiro, Brazil and now lives and works in Brooklyn, New York.

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