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How a Swiss Milk Factory from the '70s Became a University

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When it opened in 1977, the Toni milk factory in Zurich, Switzerland was considered the most modern European facility of its kind. Just 22 years later, milk processing was discontinued there, and the highly complex production equipment was sold to a plant in Eastern Europe. For over a decade, the hangar-like space in Switzerland's largest city sat dormant, until EM2N Architects was hired to convert the million-square-foot factory into an ultra-modern new campus for a Swiss university. Now the cavernous building is used as an educational and cultural space; in addition to the university, there are film studios, a library, a concert hall, and a rooftop garden there.

"These spaces have been left purposefully raw," writes Uncube Magazine. Inside, the spiral ramps once used for the collection and delivery of dairy products have become staircases. The building retains its industrial feel, even though its vast spaces are now utilized for a number of divergent purposes, including a residential tower on the upper floors. "Our design proposed tackling this sizable project—a built structure almost the size of an entire neighborhood – with a kind of inner urbanism," writes EM2N Architects. Photos, below:

All photos by Simon Menges courtesy of EM2N Architects

· EM2N Architects [Official site]
· The Milk of Human Campus: Toni Areal by EM2N in Zurich [Uncube Magazine]
· All Conversions posts [Curbed National]