ASP Landschaftsarchitekten, Zurich
Type of Area
Medium-sized river with artificial banks
Built Environment Types
Scale of Impact
Intervention Scale (Spatial)
Urban waterfront restoration
Inner urban area
Visibility and Openness
A place by the river
Wipkingerpark is located on the Limmat river in Zurich, Switzerland. It was developed in an open process with the community, by ASP Landschaftsarchitekten and the engineering firm Locher AG. They worked closely with local stakeholders (GZ Wipkingen, school budget and lifestyle, Quartierverein, Sport Fishing Association, the Limmat clubs) and the various local authorities to provide an accessible public space in a high-density residential area.
In the first stage of the renovation of this post-industrial site, 110m of the bank was restored. Long wide steps were created down to the river side with riprap and baffles at the bottom, which provided a place to sit and relax. These not only provided access to the river but also acted as flood protection. The design is supposed to provide habitat for fish, water birds and small organisms, although the hard structure appears to offer limited space for flora and fauna.
A small attractive park was also created around the community centre with upgraded outdoor facilities, such as replacing fountains by a water play area. Facilities in the park include toilets, places to eat, grassed areas for sunbathing and concrete tables for barbecues. In the second stage the connection to the main road, Breitensteinstrasse was improved and the animal trail renewed.
The weak current makes this riverside area ideal for swimming, paddling and launching small boats and dinghies. In addition, accessibility to the site has been improved by levelling surfaces and creating direct access under the Wipkinger bridge
Perception and Meaning
Sense of place
Health and Wellbeing
Increased physical activities
Interaction with Water
Tactile – fully in water
Website of the project:
Google map reference
Accessibility is good for this site with levelled pathways and improved access to the adjacent street, although access to the water itself is limited for those in wheelchairs and reduced mobility. Visibility of the water and accessibility to it has been improved by removing the previous concrete embankment and wall. The sense of being away is limited as it is a city centre site and it is rather exposed to sun and wind depending on the time of day or season.
The range of facilities has also been improved and upgraded thus providing the densely populated neighbourhood with space for recreation and contemplation along the river edge. The use of concrete steps, whilst improving the accessibility, does not provide good contact with nature. Whilst the riprap will provide some microhabitats for flora and fauna, these are minimal.
The overall design with the inclusion of a water play area for children and removal of the wall has improved the access to water-based recreation for the area.