Paul Clemence Captures Burckhardt & Partners’ Zürich’s MFO Park in Bloom
Paul Clemence’s capture of Zürich’s MFO Park is an evocative photo series for Archi-photo, demonstrating the juxtaposition between the metal shell of the man-made and the wild nature of the park itself. Vines intertwining themselves upon the skeleton of the structure create an attractive destination, replenishing the brownfield land and replacing it with a renewed and captivating image.
Zürich’s MFO park is a vibrant parkscape in Switzerland, previously a site used for around a century by the Oerlikon Machine Works (MFO). Saturated with construction debris and pollution during a long period of industrialization, it has been transformed into a green paradise with the nearby wooded Oerliker Park brimming with ash trees. Offering a diverse area of open space it is available to the public for a wide range of activities and events, with the presence of ‘Park House’, a large open hall, and trellis enveloped with climbing vegetation.
The MFO Park ‘Park House’ was designed by the Basel architecture firm Burckhardt & Partners and uses the remains of the old factory building. The hanger-sized trellis and inviting spaces to sit and unwind offer the locals of Zürich a space to enjoy the outside, proving particularly useful during the Covid social distancing guidelines. The structure offers a range of seating amenities, balconies, a rooftop sun deck, and a minimalist-themed water basin, all of which are carefully arranged, offering some seclusion. The landscape was designed by Zürich based firm Raderschall Partners, complimenting the industrial aesthetic of the construction. Opened initially in 2002, this particular regenerative project has won multiple awards, including the ‘most innovative contemporary park or garden’, from the European garden heritage network.
What is fascinating about this particular project is the site’s striking seasonal change. During the winter months the shell of construction is revealed, only to vanish under flora during the spring and summertime. The capture of wild vines exhibiting pink and purple tones enclose the site in beauty and charm. The trellised latticework is fabricated in steel creating orthogonal construction. Clemence has captured the impact of its form, casting geometric shadows upon the ground. A vast contrast from the natural and untamed form of the foliage itself.
Clemence has expressed the spirit of place, a site rich in shadows, altering light and scents through the power of his lens. Images that present its sheer scale and denote ephemeral themes. The essence of biophilia shrouds the shell of the building as if it were to be some form of cladding on its façade. A green coat that masks the dire history of this former industrialized space. It has been given new life, replenished through the means of nature’s undisputed beauty.
Paul Clemence is an award-winning writer and photographer exploring the field of architecture and design, his work is renowned in ArchDaily, Metropolis, and Casa Vogue Brazil among others. Archi-Photo otherwise known as Architecture Photography, his Facebook photoblog, quickly became an online sensation with a large following of over 970,000 followers. His published work Mies van der Rohe’s Farnsworth House remains the most complete photo documentation of the residential design to date.
See the full series and learn more information about his work on his Facebook page Archi-photo.