So Zurich is only about the size of Portland, and it is bananas how cosmopolitan it feels given its size. You can also look in almost any direction and see rolling green hills…

I went sniffing around for cool architecture and found this Spillmann Echsle Architekten project in a neighborhood called Hardbrücke. The structure is, of course, made of shipping containers [stacked 9-high], and contains the Freitag [fancy Swiss waterproof luggage company] flagship store. There is an observation deck on top, from which you can view the life of the Frau Gerolds biergarten below. It was constructed in 2006.

The neighborhood was really cool — very yupster-y.IMG_1380 IMG_1382

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The interiors are left pretty rough — especially the last 6 stairs up to the observation deckIMG_1384IMG_1385IMG_1383IMG_1388View of Frau Gerolds Garten from the topIMG_1386Weird graphics on the observation platformIMG_1389They used mirrors inside to make the spaces seem bigger; only about half of the shipping container was used for the commercial area — space behind is utilized for inventory.

Around the Freitag store, there is an adorable and lively biergarten, as well as shops [black structure] and trailers dedicated to craft goods — as in one-of-a-kind handmade clothing, shoes, and faaaaahncy knick knacks.IMG_1390 IMG_1395 Also, a vegetable trailer:IMG_1393 IMG_1394IMG_1401IMG_1406 Awesome vintage furniture retailer, Walter:IMG_1397 IMG_1396This alleyway is funny, and reflects the industrial nature of this area, even though it appears to be becoming more bourgeois. There is a nice restaurant occupying the space under the umbrellas, and further up the alley is a meat proprietor that makes the whole place smell like crab — but at least they have sculptures of Capricorn.IMG_1399 IMG_1400Separating the commercial and residential areas is the Viadukt, a project by the public entity Stiftung PWG. According to their website, Stiftung PWG has been operating in some form since 1982, and is a city-run entity which is dedicated to the creation of affordable housing and commercial districts.IMG_1398 IMG_1408 IMG_1409The green part at the end is a market hall, and there are restaurants and shops throughout the yellow and pink blocks.IMG_1405 They made some throughways where you can still hang out ‘under the bridge’ and even climb up and over the shopsIMG_1403 On the other side is Josefswiese park with a swimming and picnic area for families on one endIMG_1404And a biergarten and bocce court on the other end. This jaunt through a different, less pristine, more hip, part of Zurich opened my mind to it — it is definitely a cool city with a good vibe.