Credo

I help to make people aware of spatial qualities and good architecture and find or create living spaces where all aspects of life can unfold by drawing on imagination and creativity, an understanding of efficiency and viability and all my experience as an architect, development adviser and ethicist.

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Curriculum

Martin Hofer (*1955) has one adult daughter and two adult sons (and four grandchildren) and is married to the photographer Andrea Diglas. They live in a converted advertising agency building in Gockhausen, right on the Zurich city boundary and at times in Muralto in Ticino.

Professional activities

Various advisory mandates

1990-2017

Founding partner of Wüest Partner AG, Zurich, long-standing member of the Executive Board, Board of Directors and Chairman of the Board of Directors

  • Real estate development (analyses, plans, strategies)
  • Complex and special valuations
  • Expert activity
  • Trend research
1982-1989

Practical work as an architect at his own office in Zurich

Education and further training

2005-2007

Advanced studies programme at the University of Zurich, Master in Applied Ethics (MAE) UZH

1998/1999

Coaching training

1992/1993

Project management training

1984/1985

Construction manager training

1975-1982

Architecture studies at ETH Zurich Master of Arts ETH (Architecture)

1962-1975

School education in Zurich (federal academic baccalaureate, type A)

Current projects (a selection)

A Pfingsthain for Zurich West
After “Die blühende Pfingstweide” and “Josef will wohnen”, this is the third project I have co-managed and the third publication of Hochparterre magazine. “A Pfingsthain for Zurich West” reduces the inner Pfingstweidstrasse to two lanes, thus creating a tree-lined boulevard over 800 m long, contributing to a better quality of life and cooling the city. If a 30 km/h speed limit is also introduced, over 2000 apartments could be built on the former shopping street and Zurich West could finally become a mixed urban district.
link to PDF.

"Josef wants to live"
Under this title, I led a working group on behalf of the Interessengemeinschaft Zentrum Hardbrücke (IGZH) that conducted a thorough examination of the City of Zurich's test planning. Our recommendation demonstrates that it is possible to create up to 500 affordable apartments on the vacated site, in addition to generating numerous job opportunities. To date, the City of Zurich has only included plans for a limited number of housing units for the elderly at that location. The article in Hochparterre was published in a special edition and provides additional details link to PDF.

During a two-day module at ETH Zurich for the MAS/CAS "Future Heritage," under the Chair of Historic Preservation and Building Research, I had the opportunity to introduce the students to the topic of "dealing with the existing building stock."

Since April I'm a member of the six-member advisory board for architecture and urban development of the city of Wetzikon, appointed by the city council (no link yet)

Member of the core team of IGZH (Interessengemeinschaft Zentrum Hardbrücke, Zurich West): Various urban planning interventions and developments

I was commissioned by the Hamasil Foundation, together with Köbi Gantenbein, to lead two workshops in October and November 2022 with a working group put together especially for this purpose. Under the programmatic title "Blühende Pfingstweide" (Blooming Pfingstweide), we are challenging a large-scale project on the Welti-Furrer site in the center of Zurich West, directly at Pfingstweidstrasse, which in our view is completely "out of time". But we don't just criticise, we also point out alternative options for taking action - deliberately flamboyant and thought-provoking, since we want to achieve change. In April 2023, a special issue of Hochparterre was published. Here you will find a link to the editorial as a PDF from this special issue.

Everything doesn’t always go to plan. But, in the end, even failure can bring progress. The «Re-Use» project for the legendary Huber Pavilions on ETH’s Hönggerberg campus provides a perfect example. Just two days before it was due to start, the project fell through.

The development of an extremely innovative and sustainable commercial building in Winterthur – the first commercial building accessible by bicycle.

Conversion concept for a vacant office property in Kreis 4 in Zurich with an innovative micro-business approach, as an alternative to a residential scenario; for a real estate fund.

HORTUS-House of Research, Technology, Utopia and Sustainability
This is the working title of a project that involves a multidisciplinary team developing an extremely sustainable office and commercial building in Northwestern Switzerland with very low grey energy expenditure (no concrete, amortised within 25 years, etc.) and a target of zero emissions.

Life Sciences campus in the greater Basel area
On 4 building sites of the so-called BaseLink-area in Allschwil I co-initiated and -developed: Maincampus

I managed to strike gold in the north of the region, close to the French border, coming across a 75,000 m2 piece of wasteland with a total of 16 construction plots where an actual Life Sciences campus has since been built next to the industrial plants already located there. My client acquired a total of 11 construction plots, which have been developing into high-quality office/laboratory/commercial buildings with different functions since 2016 and are likely to be finished by 2030.
I am providing the client with conceptual and strategic support with all its projects.

Seebahn-Park, Zurich
In 2016, I and four other committed town residents had the idea of covering the SBB Seebahn-Graben line which runs straight through city districts 3 and 4 from Hohlstrasse to Wiedikon station, for once not to build on the site or compact it structurally, but to create a green park instead.

The park is approximately 1 km long and 30 to 50 m wide (about 40,000 m2) and is divided by intersecting streets into a chain of six individual parks, each with its own unique green character. The city councils thought our initiative was so important that Seebahn-Park was immediately included in the municipal structure plan. We are constantly developing the project further, secure in the knowledge that it is a project for the generations. Seebahn-Park is even more topical in the context of the climate debate – in the heat of summer in the city, it will act as a cold air corridor right at the hottest point of the urban settlement.

Time and again: Architect coaching
I regularly advise architects and architectural firms on organisational and entrepreneurial matters, which could be anything from career or succession planning through to operational optimisation.

Expert and guide
I have been engaged by universities and other institutions to provide expertise or support time and again, as it is the case this example where I was approached by Annette Gigon and Mike Guyer to take on the role of Professor of Architecture and Construction at ETH for the 2020 autumn semester.

Real estate and location scouting
I enjoy searching for specific properties or plots for clients – the more unique and challenging the better. Currently, for example, I am looking for:
*Properties for high-end, metropolitan retirement residences

Participation in workshops
I am often invited to take part in multidisciplinary workshops as a seasoned expert, partly due to my skills as a lateral thinker or someone who thinks outside the box.

Guest speaker
From time to time, I am invited to attend corporate or local authority events as a guest speaker – again usually labelled a lateral thinker or someone who thinks outside the box. Currently, for example, for the Atuprix award ceremony.

Media

30 km/h on the highway feeder road?

In Zurich-West, an energetic group is calling for radical restructuring

To the article

Vision: "Joseph wants to live"

The proposal of the IGZH working group "Josef will wohnen" (Joseph wants to live) has triggered a broad media response and concrete political activities. Read the most important articles in the media

To the article

The "Seebahn-Park Zürich" project is becoming more concrete and has received positive media coverage

To the article

Six recipes instead of one concept

Six recipes instead of one concept
Read in my article in "Hochparterre" why spatial concepts are doomed to failure and what should replace them.

Read more

Cuisine sans frontières

Scholarship for Garni Bar Post
Martin Hofer, scholarship founder and co-developer of the project, is pleased that "the most peripheral inn" in Switzerland (in Bergell) has won the first tender.

To the article

From the avant garde to the mainstream

Reflections on collective spirit, deceptive packaging by professional operators and the phenomenon of co-working during an exciting panel discussion

To the article

Mindful Architecture

As the guest speaker at a graduation ceremony at the HWZ, Martin Hofer reflected on public space and the value of mindful, sensory architecture.

To the abstract

An oasis in the middle of the city

Martin Hofer is the co-initiator of the “Seebahn-Park” project. An association has now been formed from the project group and is seeking members.

Find out more

The “shell construction rental” magic formula

Martin Hofer in conversation with SSA Architekten about incapacitated tenants, the lack of residential expertise and new visions for living.

To the article

A bunny for the “best”

Founded by Marin Hofer, the Senn Hochparterre company donates a prize in the “best” category to mark its 30th birthday. The first batch of best houses will be awarded a rabbit.

To the article

When a factory becomes a home

In his book of the same name, Chris van Uffelen paints a picture of a former advertising agency in Gockhausen, which Martin Hofer suggested could be converted as part of a project development (two conversions and 25 residential studios). Today he lives there himself.

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Hochparterre celebrates its 30th birthday

Martin Hofer has been closely linked to the Hochparterre magazine for many years, including as co-founder of the “City monographs” special series (see Section “17. Hochparterres Haus”).

Weiterlesen

Architecture and spatial planning in Switzerland

Use should be free. This is the opinion expressed by Martin Hofer in an interview with Dr Gregory Grämiger from the Institute for the History and Theory of Architecture at ETH Zurich

To the interview

The real estate whisperer

Martin Hofer is a networker and lateral thinker in the world of real estate. He recently left Wüest Partner and is talking to Hochparterre about valuations and data, investors and architects.

To the article

References

Here are just a few examples representing a large number of references from the last 28 years. Projects which were aborted have also been included deliberately.

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Ideenwettbewerb Gaswerkareal und Brückenkopf West, Bern

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Grid, Allschwil, commercial complex for off̈ice, laboratory, teaching and creative staff

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Culinarium Alpinum, Stans, conversion of the former Capuchin monastery

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Zwicky Süd, Dübendorf/Wallisellen, residential and commercial quarter in the agglomeration

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Feldhäuser, Emmen, Alfred Schindler Foundation residential complex plot

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MinMax, Opfikon, residential/commercial building with approx. 100 micro and cluster apartments

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Tatort, Zurich Affoltern, drive-in commercial building

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Noerd, Zurich, commercial building for creatives in Zürich Nord

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Smartinska, Ljubljana, urban expansion master plan

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Pentagon, Zurich, football stadium with commercial uses, winning project in a competition

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Balance, Wallisellen, 14 multi-family properties in condominium ownership

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Kurfürst, Zurich, speculation-free seven-family home with studios in condominium ownership

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