Tree Museum, Lake Zurich Building, Swiss Project, Enzo Enea Design, Image

Tree Museum Switzerland : Enzo Enea headquarters

Lake Zurich Architecture – design by Chad Oppenheim

15 Jun 2010

Tree Museum, Lake Zurich

Architect Chad Oppenheim’s Creation of Garden Designer Enzo Enea’s New Headquarters Ushers in a New Paradigm of Architectural Humility

Oppenheim Architecture + Design

Tree Museum - Lake Zurich Building

Award-winning architect Chad Oppenheim unveils his latest project, landscape designer Enzo Enea’s headquarters on Lake Zurich, featuring the world’s first true Tree Museum.

Tree Museum Tree Museum Lake Zurich Swiss Tree Museum

Kicking off Art Basel week in Switzerland, leading international “green” architect Chad Oppenheim and one of the world’s most preeminent landscape architects, Enzo Enea, showcase the emergence of a new architectural landscape created by these two design forces, unveiling the Tree Museum by Enea and Enea’s Headquarters by Oppenheim in Rapperswil-Jona, Switzerland on June 14.

When competing for a job of this scope, it’s tempting for an architect to generate dynamic forms and bold statements that scream to be noticed and take center stage. But for architect Chad Oppenheim, it is the humble poetry of his work that won him the project– a design that delights in serving more of its natural surroundings than in its own form.

Tree Museum Switzerland Tree Museum Tree Museum Lake Zurich Swiss Tree Museum

Narrowed down to eight leading architects from around the world, Enea’s vision for a tree museum and headquarters precipitated a search for a firm that would embody his unique perspective. As Oppenheim explains his winning scheme– “it is often the desire of our architecture to establish and accentuate gardens and surrounding vistas that heighten the appreciation of nature— so it was quite natural for us to make Enea’s gardens the star of the show. We are always working towards creating the space for the beauty of the natural world to take center stage. You don’t need to focus the energy of the building on form to heighten the experience of place, when celebrating the elemental power of sky, water, and the surrounding ecosystems.”

Tree Museum Switzerland Tree Museum Tree Museum Lake Zurich Swiss Tree Museum

The project strives to take full advantage of its contextual resources; sustainably sourced local wood blends with the surrounding forest, natural light is brought deep into the space through abundant glazing and north facing skylights. Natural insulating and energy conservation systems such as green roofs and geothermal exchange allows the building to produce minimum negative impact on the same environment it honors.

The building attempts to transform the prosaic into the poetic–where a showroom, classroom, workshop and storage facility become a borrowed landscape that emerges from the site as a discrete and elegant wooden volume, simultaneously creating a dramatic backdrop for the gardens and blending with the surrounding hills. Oppenheim’s aesthetic showcases function with fantasy, a desire to achieve maximum effect with minimal gesture– supporting a symbiotic relationship of architecture and garden design.

Tree Museum Switzerland Tree Museum Tree Museum Lake Zurich Swiss Tree Museum

Drawing upon Enea’s industry and passion for collecting trees, OAD provided a flexible platform for the celebrated garden spaces of the complex, on the grounds of a 14th Century monastery. The Tree Museum is comprised of unique spaces combining man-made and natural landscape, housing more than 2,000 trees, with a special installation of about 50 personally curated by Enzo from around the world.

“Though I’ve worked with Chad on private homes and the Simpson Park project in Miami, I wanted the chance to work with him with freedom of design and no creative limitations,” says Enea. “I also selected him from the competition [for the Enea Headquarters] for the way he interpreted everything we wanted to use; he understood what we wanted to do with the tree museum, and he integrated the design and nature better than anyone by showcasing the trees through the building.”

The relationship between Enea and Oppenheim began with a meeting in South Florida during Art Basel Miami. Impressed with Oppenheim’s demonstrated design sensibilities, heavily integrating nature within the surrounding contextual palette of historical buildings and his own brand of Tropical Modernism, Enea felt that OAD was a firm that could accurately realize his vision. Having both spent time studying architecture and garden design in Japan, there is also a shared Asian influence in their sensibilities. OAD recently received an American Architecture Award for its design of the Enea Gardens Headquarters.

Tree Museum Switzerland Tree Museum Tree Museum Lake Zurich

Oppenheim is also opening his OAD Basel office the day after the Tree Museum opening, on June 14. One of his current projects is another collaboration with Enea in China, where they are master planning a mixeduse urban center in the port city of Tianjin.

Background on OAD

Oppenheim Architecture + Design (OAD)


June 10-12, The AIA National Convention in Miami: As a visionary “green” architect celebrated locally as well as internationally, Oppenheim will be speaking on a panel at AIA, judging a competition, and giving a personal tour of his Miami Beach home, Villa Allegra, to a select group of VIP guests.

June 13, Enea Headquarters and Tree Museum opening in Switzerland: Following the convention, Oppenheim will travel for the inauguration of his most recent, and first European project – the headquarter offices for landscape designer Enzo Enea. More than a mere office, this facility will house the world’s first true tree museum, calling for the same contextual sensibility and sustainable aspects used when the two designers worked together on the rehabilitation and redesign of Simpson Park – one of Florida’s only surviving natural eco-systems located in downtown Miami.

June 14, Oppenheim takes Basel: The trip will culminate in the grand opening of Oppenheim Architecture + Design’s (OAD) new offices in Basel. Yet another example of the firm’s mix of design integrity and innovative modernism, the building melds perfectly with the epicenter of the 18th Century city. New projects for the firm will be announced at the opening.

Tree Museum Switzerland images / information received Jun 2010

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Location: Rapperswil-Jona, Switzerland

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