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Alpiq InTec brings a breath of fresh air to the tradition-steeped Kronenhalle restaurant

A team from Alpiq InTec exchanged the ventilation system of Zurich’s renowned Kronenhalle restaurant in rather unusual circumstances during the summer of 2015. The project ran superbly, in spite of difficult conditions in terms of deadlines and logistics.

Bellevue, one of the largest transport intersections in the city of Zurich, spent the summer of 2015 as one giant construction site. Tram tracks were renewed, stops were expanded and utility lines were replaced – no traffic was allowed for five weeks. Some businesses in the surrounding area took this “opportunity” to carry out maintenance work of their own, including the traditional Kronenhalle restaurant, which shut down all its operations in order to completely renew its building technology.

Given the age of the building, local conditions, and the required building deadlines, the conditions set out in the invitation to tender were extremely challenging – especially when it came to ventilation. It was the ideal project for the professionals at Alpiq InTec. The ventilation team received the details for this unique project over six months prior to the beginning of the works. This afforded the project team time for meticulous planning, working in close collaboration with the engineering firm. Such detailed preparation was not just important – it was necessary. Without this lead time, it would simply have been impossible to implement such a project.

During the five-week on-site implementation phase, the 10 existing 30-year-old ventilation systems were decommissioned, dismantled and taken away. As this was happening, the 10 new monoblock units were delivered to an external collection point, disassembled as previously defined, and then brought into the building in individual block pieces. Once inside, they were skilfully reassembled in the tightest of space constraints. Finally, the existing air ducts were connected to the new ventilation systems. The additional parts required to install the units then had to be created within a few hours in a workshop – day or night – and then delivered to the construction site for immediate installation.

The situation was made all the more complicated by the fact that the main engineering room was located three storeys underground and was only accessible via a narrow spiral staircase. All the construction workers had to operate different tools in the basement at the same time, which meant that conditions were very cramped indeed. Furthermore, there was absolutely no leeway with the tight deadlines, since the restaurant wanted to recommence operations as planned. To accommodate this, three shifts per day were worked, including over weekends. In brief: it was hot, loud, cramped, stressful, and there was no daylight – but the job was nevertheless finished on time. It’s fair to say that the ventilation team made a fine job of it.

Kronenhalle: a world-famous restaurant in the heart of Zurich

The Kronenhalle is truly an institution in Zurich, and can look back over a long history: in 1924, Hulda and Gottlieb Zumsteg took over what was at that time known as the Hôtel de la Couronne at Rämistrasse 4 in Zurich’s Bellevue area, reopening it as the Kronenhalle. Under the directorship of Hulda Zumsteg, the establishment soon became a meeting point for writers and artists. Alongside Zurich’s bourgeoisie, Coco Chanel, Yves Saint Laurent, Pablo Picasso, Alberto Giacometti, James Joyce, Richard Strauss, Max Frisch and Friedrich Dürrenmatt were just a few of the most famous regulars. Hulda Zumsteg’s son, Gustav Zumsteg, would later take over ownership of the Kronenhalle and also played a role in shaping its image. His passion for art further contributed to the renown enjoyed by the Kronenhalle.

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