The new timber frontier

The Rocket & Tigerli is situated in the city of Winterthur, Northeast of Zürich. Formerly known for its machine industry and locomotive production, Winterthur has become a progressive place for higher education and culture. In Lokstadt, a city within the city, remains of its glorious industrial past are still visible and considered inherent qualities that serve as guiding principles for the revitalisation of the area into a new vibrant neighbourhood. Here, the Rocket&Tigerli will stand as a beacon for innovation and modern urban living bridging the past with present-day ideas of a more sustainable lifestyle.

With the timber tower undoubtedly at the centre of attention, the Rocket & Tigerli consists of three additional low-rise buildings, each with their own expression and function. In wanting to create room for an accessible, including, and vibrant neighbourhood to unfold, the Rocket&Tigerli provides spaces for regular housing, student housing, retail at ground floor levels, a hotel, spa, restaurant, and sky-bar offering unobstructed views of the city.

In breaking with the initial closed block structure proposed by the masterplan for the area, the design for the Rocket & Tigerli seeks to connect the site with the social fabric of the neighbouring plots. This allows for urban permeability, inflow of daylight, and public engagement, while also creating a stronger sense of belonging among the residents as each building will have its own distinctive expression.

Born out of advancements in building techniques, the Rocket & Tigerli takes an unprecedented step towards timber buildings reaching new heights. Paradoxically, the innovative aspect of the project lies in its reintroduction of one of mankind’s oldest and most well-known building materials as timber is no longer confined to matters of preference and typology; it is now receiving increased attention because of its immense potential as a more sustainable alternative to concrete and steel.

Rocket Tigerli Model Photo03 Residential
Rocket Tigerli Diagram Concept 01 Residential

The project combines the residential typology of the courtyard block with the fragmented urban fabric of the industrial district of Lockstad.

Every building gets its own identity and individual expression, strengthening the residents´ sense of belonging.

Rocket Tigerli Diagram Concept 02 Residential

Each building has an independent access from the street and an easy access to the inner courtyard.

Rocket Tigerli Diagram Concept 03 Residential

Daylight is optimized both in the public spaces and in the residential units.

Rocket Tigerli Diagram Concept 05 Residential

Social facilities at different levels offer activities and meeting opportunities to people of all ages and genders.

Rocket Tigerli Diagram Concept 06 Residential

A variety of green outdoor spaces is created in the inner courtyard and on the building roofs.

Rocket Tigerli Diagram Concept 07 Residential
Rocket Tigerli Site plan 01 Residential

Variations in the high-rise facade are generated by rotating every second floor plate.

Rocket Tigerli Diagram Facade 10 Residential
Rocket Tigerli Structure Cropped Residential

A timber structure will be clad with a prefabricated unitised facade system - a reliable, flexible and repeatable assembly design approach.

Rocket Tigerli Diagram Facade 11 Residential
Rocket Tigerli Facade Closeup Render2 Residential
Rocket Tigerli Courtyard Residential
Winterthur, Switzerland
Mixed-Use, Residential, Hotel, Retail
34,500 m²
Ongoing, completion expected in 2027
Implenia, Ina Invest AG
Winner of international competition, 2022
Collaborating Architect:
Cometti Truffer Hodel Architects
Landscape Architect:
Schmidt Hammer Lassen Architects, Vogt
WaltGalmarini AG, B3, Henaur-Gugler, Waldhauser+Hermann, Bruckner+Ernst
Targeting SNBS Platinum and 2000-Watt Society
Schmidt Hammer Lassen

The Rocket & Tigerli, set to be completed by 2027, will stand as the tallest residential high-rise constructed primarily with timber. The ground-breaking project demomstrates a significant achievement not only due to its height of 100 metres, but also in introducing an innovative construction system that explores timber as an alternative to concrete.

Towering above the ridges of Winterthur, Switzerland, the pioneering project will serve as a symbol of innovation, sustainability, and community in the heart of Lokstadt – an area once renowned as the bustling hub for locomotive production. The Rocket & Tigerli will become a point of orientation and a catalyst for the revitalisation of Lokstadt into a hip, vibrant neighbourhood.

Comprised by four buildings, the Rocket & Tigerli mixes regular housing, student housing, a restaurant, retail spaces, a spa, hotel, and a sky-bar. A green publicly accessible courtyard offers space for social activities and creates synergies between the buildings and the adjacent public areas.

The Rocket&Tigerli marks a milestone in the construction of timber buildings – not solely because of its 100 metres, which set the record for residential buildings with a load-bearing timber construction, but also because it introduces an innovative construction system that examines wood as a natural replacement for concrete. The Swiss company Implenia and the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology of Zürich, ETH, have worked together in developing the new system, which allows the construction of taller timber buildings. In the new system, the concrete core has been replaced with wood, resulting in the fact that the individual beam comes in at a lower weight. This makes it possible to build taller constructions while, at the same time, ensures that the entire building process achieves a lower amount of embedded carbon.

Rocket Tigerli Square Residential
Rocket Tigerli Gap tracks Residential

Rocket&Tigerli opens the area by creating attractive outdoor and indoor spaces that call for human interaction. In the original masterplan, the landscape was designed by international landscape architecture studio Vogt. To support the existing masterplan, the proposal was inspired by the spaces and breaks that naturally occur in the industrial architecture in the meeting between large spaces and narrow streets. By using the four buildings to frame the landscape, an urban space is composed by sequences. Together with retail and a restaurant, bright passages and green spaces at street level will create an active neighbourhood with a distinctive identity. A neighbourhood that invites residents and visitors alike to make use of the different activities.

Rocket Tigerli Diagram Concept 02 Residential
Rocket Tigerli Diagram Concept 04 Residential

In the residential units, the design challenges the classical high-rise typology by focussing extensively on the integration of daylight and spaciousness. This results in apartment spaces showered in daylight with double height. All residential units are angled to make most of the inflow of daylight and are designed with a high level of flexibility allowing the spaces to adapt to future needs.

Rocket Tigerli Facade Closeup Render2 Residential
Rocket Tigerli Interior Rocket Tigerli
Rocket Tigerli Roof Residential

From considering wood as a natural material, traditionally used in cottages and holiday houses, the material is now being treated with focus on its eminent qualities in relation to a building’s total energy consumption. Innovative construction technologies allow the wood to join the mainstream in the built environment both when it comes to all timber constructions, and when it comes to hybrids between timber and concrete constructions.