Retrofitting refers to the addition of new technology or features to older systems. It is the remolding, refurnishing, and re-purposing of old spaces into new.

I spent this summer in Germany doing research. During the weekend I would travel and see lots of sights. One of the cities I went to was Zurich Switzerland. I took a tour around the city and in my opinion it was one of the most interesting to see. In the old industrial quarter of Zurich instead of tearing down buildings to make new ones they retrofitted them. By doing that they saved money, were Eco-friendly, created a unique atmosphere within the building.

The most unique in my opinion is shown below. The Freitag Shop in Zurich is made out of 17 old rusted shipping containers. It is the tallest building in Zurich and a prime example of retrofitting done in the city. It is Eco-friendly and aesthetically interesting to the eye.


Another example of the retrofitting done in Zurich is Im Viadukt. Due to the close quarters of the city, instead of tearing down buildings, the architects got creative. They transformed a train viaduct near Zurich’s main station into a 500 meter long shopping strip. In the viaducts, shops and cafes have been built. Along with an efficient use of space, it creates an interesting and unusual place to visit.


The Schiffbauhaus is another notable example of the retrofitting done in Zurich. It was once a factory but has been remodeled into two theaters, a jazz cafe and La Salle restaurant. The restaurant is housed in a glass box. I loved how they redesigned the building, but also incorporated parts of the original factory. As seen below. There is an elegant restaurant, buy you can also see the beams from the original factory above.

Digital Camera


I greatly enjoyed seeing all of these examples of retrofitting in Zurich, and I strongly believe we should apply it here in the United States.


Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s