Zurich is one of the most expensive cities in the world. Inexpensive apartments are hard to come by. City voters therefore decided in 2013 to increase the number of affordable apartments by 30 %. A number of pertinent projects have been started since then. Baugenossenschaft Glatttal Zürich (referred to below as BGZ) is one of the largest housing cooperatives and investors in the region with about 2000 apartments. Its latest project is called the Wrighthouse.

The cooperative system is a proven model for the construction of reasonably priced housing and is widespread in Switzerland. It is based on the solidarity of a large number of members, who jointly finance and run a project. Thanks to their broad base, the cooperatives can bring to market a diverse portfolio and a wide variety of apartment sizes. They have properties for all situations in life.

Flexibility is vital for the cooperatives because their members’ life cycles, space requirements and individual needs change constantly. To be able to supplement their range of housing and keep resources on hand as needed, the cooperatives occasionally erect or purchase new buildings and apartments. This was the reason BGZ invested in the Wrighthouse, a modern residential and commercial project.

Kurt Williner, Head of Construction and Maintenance at BGZ: “The Wrighthouse supplemented our portfolio on the north side of Zurich perfectly with its 81 apartments and variety of commercial spaces. The apartments have an ultra-modern design and clearly meet the needs of highly mobile young working couples.” The building complex is part of a total system containing all the necessary facilities: shopping mall, gym, business hotel and much more.

Flexible infrastructure

Kurt Williner: “This project is aimed at a target group with a digital lifestyle.” That is why BGZ wanted to install modern, future-capable infrastructures from the outset. The apartments were to be appealing and sustainable in every respect and offer added value. Kurt Williner: “The communication infrastructure is supposed to be state of the art and be flexibly usable. For instance, modern individuals want to be highly flexible in terms of their providers!”

The project partners decided on a combined communication approach based on cabling solutions from R&M. It consists of Fiber to the Building (FTTB), Fiber to the Home (FTTH) and multimedia home cabling. R&M recommended the flexible fiber-coax concept to connect the apartments. It enables generic Gigabit Ethernet transmission. The building was connected using the FiberSpot concept of Swisscom. The external fiber optic cabling was run up to an appropriately equipped SCS FAN rack, which is housed in an optical main distribution frame (OMDF) from R&M. The active components for the access area are also located here. The cabling for all the apartments converges at the OMDF. The Swiss 4-fiber model is applied throughout the building. It ensures open access for phone, Internet, TV and cable providers.

The optical fibers were run from the building entry point (BEP) into the multimedia distribution boxes for the apartments and from there to the fiber optic outlets. In addition, all apartments were connected to a coaxial cable for CATV. Copper cabling in a star arrangement supplies the individual rooms and the multimedia outlets. They are fitted with RJ45 and coax connections. The same communication infrastructure was installed in the 41 condominiums in the Wrighthouse, which are being offered on the market independently of BGZ.

Free choice of providers

With this approach, BGZ makes available a generic passive infrastructure in a star arrangement. All communication and online services, phone, cable or digital TV, radio and Internet can be used over a single set of integrated cabling. This solution is capable of meeting future needs and also offers occupants the added value that comes from flexibility. All transmission media are already in each apartment so the occupants can easily switch providers if they wish. In addition, they can combine multiple services for the purpose of convergence and even set up their own mini local data networks for their computers or game consoles.

Meyer & Partner AG from Stäfa, the electrical engineering firm subcontracted by the general contractor Implenia to do the planning, recommended the R&M solutions. Once again, Meyer was convinced of the quality of R&M products. From the perspective of planners, R&M offers the leading total solutions for projects such as the Wrighthouse. R&M also provided comprehensive services during the entire project, which was seen as another plus. Melcom AG from Wallisellen was contracted to do the installation work.